Lest some thought that my post Repentance vs. Religion promotes a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of Christianity, I wanted to offer some balance.
My family has been through a long and drawn out season of sickness and injury. Life for us has been anything but normal.
I’ll confess that while my usual wake-up time is quite early in the morning, most mornings I do not feel like getting up. I sit at the table sipping my first cup of coffee, mentally rearranging my day to see if I can somehow find an extra half-hour so I can climb back in bed and sleep a little longer.
Every morning is the same – that extra half-hour just isn’t there, so I grab my Bible and my prayer journal and begin my time with the Lord. It usually begins with a series of yawns…
…but the amazing thing is that it usually ends with joyful tears of praise and sense of readiness for my day.
Yes – Christian discipline must flow from relationship
If you are married, you know all about that.
A relationship based on feelings alone is weak. The first winds of adversity will blow it to smithereens. Feelings are the decorations on the walls of the house that love built. If all a relationship has is feelings, it is nothing more than a pile of decorations waiting for walls to hang on.
There is no foundation
There is no structure
There is nothing on which the relationship is actually built.
The house the love built, must have a foundation in Jesus Christ
It’s structure must be built on trust, loyalty, and determination to get through the difficult times faithfully and joyfully.
And our relationship with Jesus Christ is no different. If our Christian life is built only on the feelings we had when we got saved, we will find our relationship with God in shipwreck before too long. All it will take is one lie from Satan, one rejection from a close friend, one questioning glance from a co-worker to whom we are witnessing to send our thoughts in a whirl as doubts overwhelm us.
Our relationship with Jesus Christ needs a strong foundation built on the everlasting, unchanging, unbending, and static principles of the Word of God. Principles that transcend cultural boundaries, generational gaps, and denominational difference. The solidity of biblical principle is strong enough to withstand doubt, scientific argument and persecution; and without it our entire faith comes into question!
With that strong foundation we can build a solid structure with the materials of prayer, daily devotion, evangelism, fellowship with the saints, scriptural memorization and meditation, fasting, times of praise and worship…all of the Christian disciplines that strengthen our faith in the Lord. There may be times when we don’t feel like employing these disciplines.
There are times when in our Bible reading we hit the Book of Numbers – we read all of those lists, numbers and genealogies; and our minds wander, eyes start to cross and for the millionth time we wonder, “Why didn’t God just say, ‘All of the children of Israel brought x, y and z’ and be done with it. And an 80-verse chapter would have been a 5-verse chapter!”
There are times when our prayers are so dry we feel like they are cotton balls floating from our lips to Heaven’s brass gates. And we wonder why on earth we bother praying at all!
But it is in these times that we are building up what my wise father calls a “snow bank”.
Not any more than giving your husband a hug and a kiss, even when you don’t have ooey-gooey feelings is fake.
Love is more than a feeling. It is deeper than feelings. It rises above feelings and becomes commitment. A willful act based on faithful dedication. Whereas religion is mere action for the sake of that action alone, meaningless duty void of purpose.
Eventually, when springtime comes, the snowbank melts, the ground becomes soft, the flowers start to bloom, and our house of love springs to life as the feelings awaken to new life – now deeper and more mature.
Have you only begun to build your foundation? Remain faithful to build it deep and strong.
Are you working on your structure? Continue to stay disciplined and build well.
Are you in a phase where winter has set in and you feel like giving up? Keep building that snow bank!
Because building the house of love takes work!
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