A Strong Foundation

Today, as I was reading through Luke 6, the topic of foundations was placed on my heart. So commonly Christians ignore the very thing we need to truly be intimate with God: A strong foundation. Often we build our “house” on the weaker, easily obtained (if not just completely absent) foundation of a lack of constant communication with Jesus. Obviously we should never have a foundation consisting of a lack of anything; especially not when it comes to our relationship with God.

The bible CLEARLY states that if we are not following Him as we should be, then our foundation is weak. Luke 6:46-48 says this:

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and don’t do what I say? I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.”

Verse 49 goes on to speak about the one who hears and does not act. The house was built without a foundation, therefore it collapsed as soon as the river hit. So let’s pay close attention to these verses; we are GOING to get a flood. Things will definitely be thrown at us that will shake our faith, so we need a foundation. Where does that come from? Hearing and acting on God’s word. If we are not consistently spending time with God, not accepting His help in resisting temptation, than our sin becomes our destruction. The flood isn’t what’s going to cause the real damage, it’s the way we choose to build our house.

As Christians we are meant to be set apart, and it is not always going to be easy. In Luke 6:27-36 Jesus speaks about how important it is to be different by comparing Christ-like love to the worlds love. In those verses, He calls us to be DIFFERENT in the way we love. Why shouldn’t we be different in all other things? The verses that actually make this point stand out the most to me is Matthew 7:13-14:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”

We shouldn’t be walking in the way everyone else is. After months of listening to pretty much everything Heather Lindsey has ever posted, one phrase stands out: It DOES take all that. I know you want to tell yourself that the lust in your heart is okay, everyone has it, everyone acts on it. Oh, no, I don’t really have to work to let this sin go. What do you mean I can’t listen to that? This person does. Why can’t I watch that? EVERYONE else does. The excuses just go on and on. Stop coming up with pathetic excuses about how you’re young, or you’re just a girl, or just a guy, or all of your friends do it. We are called to live life with Godly standards, not worldly standards. It does take all that. You have got to get out of this world-based mindset to truly experience Jesus.

Stop building your house without a foundation. Stop faking intimacy with Jesus. Let God prepare you for the unavoidable storms by being intentional with Him.

 

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Religion or Jesus?

Often times when people think of Christians they think of negative traits such as hypocrisy and pushiness. Why is that? Why is it that the religion that’s basis is a grand act of love considered so…hateful? The answer is overwhelmingly simple: We are too religious.

Yes, you read that correctly. Our religion is too religious. See, the problem is not that we follow Jesus more than we should, that is not at all a possibility. The real issue is the fact that a majority of us are not creating any sort of relationship with the Lord, but a relationship with the religion. That doesn’t make sense, does it? How can someone form a bond with a mere idea? This is where the main point comes in: It’s not possible.

As Christians, our main purpose is to show the world Christ’s love. The love of a LIVING God. The cool thing about a living God is that it is completely possible to follow Him. But, how can one follow a religion? It does not give you strength, it does not keep you safe, it is not there at 3 in the morning when your heart is broken and you have no one else to turn to; that’s not religion. That’s Jesus. See, we are trying to convince a world to do the impossible and they know it! They know it is impossible because we ourselves can not even do it. No one can have a relationship with an idea, a law, a way of life.

In Mark chapter seven we see the Pharisees confront Jesus about why his disciples were eating with unwashed hands. Now, at this time the washing of their hands was a tradition that the Jews considered very important. Jesus immediately refers to them as hypocrites, and verse 9 says this: “He also said to them, ‘You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain your tradition!'”. The Pharisees were so concerned about tradition and the “show” of it all that they forgot to truly follow the Father, and as a result began following the religion. Religion can change and be whatever you want it to be, but God can not. In following religion, you are basically following yourself. The Pharisees were not pursuing God’s desires, they were pursing their own desires: the main one being self-glorification.

Does that sound familiar? If not, let me make it simple: We are the Pharisees in this situation! We go to church, but we don’t read the bible on our own. We pray in public, but never in private (unless, of course, we need something). We don’t try to really know Jesus. We preach the law but never actually attempt to follow it ourselves because we don’t have the desire or the strength to. We aren’t following Jesus, we are following religion because we want people to SEE us.. We want people to SEE what we are doing and PRAISE us. But that’s not where praise belongs, no, praise belongs to God and God alone. Religion doesn’t save you, the Savior saves you.

So, to close, I challenge you to make an effort to genuinely begin a personal relationship with the Lord if you haven’t already. Spend time with him in private. Look for his guidance and his wisdom, not the world’s. That’s where joy, peace, hope, and LOVE come from. That’s what Christianity is meant to be about.