On What Can We Base Our Lives?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:11

What is the foundation of your life? On what do you base your well-being, your sense of purpose, your priorities and principles? We can build our lives on all sorts of things, including dreams of success, a desire for wealth, the love of family and friends, self-generated self-esteem, national pride, and the lure of honor. Yet none of these will ultimately support an abundant, meaningful, purposeful life. 1 Corinthians 3 reminds us that the only sure foundation for life is Jesus Christ.

In context, the Apostle Paul is talking about the foundation of the church in Corinth. The Corinthians are “God’s building” (3:9), and Paul was the “expert builder” who first began to construct the community of believers in Corinth. He recognizes that others are building on the foundation that he laid, and this is just fine, as long as they are building on the one true foundation, which is Jesus Christ (3:11).

This passage speaks to all Christians who want to help their churches be strong and healthy. Churches can have a wide variety of foundations. Some are built on the charisma of a founding pastor. Some are based on a desire to reach people for Christ. Some are intended to represent their own denominational “flavor” in a certain area. Some are founded on authority and tradition. But 1 Corinthians 3:11 reminds us of the only solid, sure, and trustworthy foundation for every church . . . Jesus Christ, crucified and raised from the dead, the Lord and Savior.

What is true for the church is equally true for each one of us. We are all tempted to build our lives on foundations other than Christ. Yet when we do, we will inevitably discover that our building begins to crumble because the foundation is inadequate. How much better to base our lives—and to live each day—intentionally resting on the grace, mercy, love, and justice of Christ!

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Upon what have you based your life? Which “foundations” compete with Christ to be the chief foundation for your life each day? What difference might it make in your life if you built your life on Christ?


How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled.

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.


“How Firm a Foundation” by John Rippon, 1787. Public domain.