What’s your Foundation?

Watched the first installment of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary Lance and couldn’t get the importance of foundations out of my head. Early in the episode, we learn that when Lance Armstrong started competing on the bike he actually doctored his birth certificate so he could compete before he was of competitive age.

The foundation of his cycling career was a lie. Foundations are beginnings that can pre-determine endings.

  • In fashion, foundations are beneath clothing, helping everything to hug the body smoothly, no lumps, no bumps.
  • In makeup, foundation is the canvas on which everything else is painted.
  • In the building trade, the foundation is the base that supports everything that comes later.

Years ago, I watched a multi-story building go up on a corner lot near our elementary school. A great chasm grew in the ground as though workers were digging to China. Invisible work could be heard in the hole as heavy equipment lowered supplies. Nothing else could be seen above ground for months.

Apparently the higher a building will rise, the deeper the foundation. Life is like that, too. Before honor, comes humility. Character is foundational to everything else we are. It takes time to develop. It’s not enough to be talented, determined. Talent can take us where undeveloped character can’t sustain us.

The gospels of Matthew and Luke record Jesus’s parable of the wise builder versus the foolish one. Trouble came to them both: rain, floods, winds. The wise man’s house stood. The fool’s house collapsed. The difference-maker was the homes’ foundations. The wise man built on the rock. The foolish one built on sand. Anyone who’s built a beach sandcastle gets the point.

I was always a Lance Armstrong fan. The guy had incredible moxy, competitive drive and dedication to winning. I didn’t want to believe he would dope to wear the yellow jersey and bring American cycling 7 straight Tour de France wins. But he did. And eventually, he was stripped of all the titles.

Lance lied, repeatedly. (Maybe he’s still lying.) We all have lied, to ourselves and to others. He’s one of us, though perhaps an extreme, high profile example. Who hasn’t told some foundational lie we hoped would get us promoted, get us noticed, get us something we want and help us keep it?

Right now our world is gripped by a pandemic with rising death tolls, job losses and increasing push-back on public health protections designed to check the spread of COVID-19. And in recent days, protesters have filled streets worldwide in response to racial tensions in the United States, following police brutality that resulted in the on-camera death of George Floyd, a black man killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Who can withstand these turbulent times? Jesus said, the one whose life is founded on His word, “who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice.” (Matthew 7:24) God’s word is truth. (John 17:7) Jesus, the living Word, is the Truth. (John 14:6) Christ followers are to build our lives on this Rock.

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 3:11

The world rewards lies, the devil’s native language. “When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. ” John 8:44

Build on Truth. A life of lies is sown to our own destruction.

A false witness will not go unpunished, and the one who spouts out lies will perish.

Proverbs 19:9