Sunday, May 04, 2014

Vine and Branches - II

NOTE: I changed the title because I am not really talking about the heart anymore (although the heart is involed), I am trying to describe what living with God by relationship, as opposed to religion, is like.

The mantra that essentially all Christians proclaim is that our allegiance to Jesus is not a religion, it is a relationship. Yet, many live like it is religion.

When many people approach their lifestyle, it is often with the thought of what's right or what's wrong. If I do what's right, I glorify God, declare my stance to the world, and bear fruit. I will grow and mature. If I do wrong, it dishonors God and sends the wrong message to the world. Sin contaminates the individual's soul. Obedience brings health.

I notice there are times that when I fail, I don't want my wife to know about it. I want to hide what I have done wrong from her. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, there will be a mess to clean up. Cleaning up the mess leads to a large disruption in our relationship. And I value the relationship enough that I don't want any sort of disruption.

Two, often my failure will cause pain and disappointment. In part, I don't want her to be disappointed. In part, the pain and disappointment leads to a large disruption in our relationship. And I value the relationship enough that I don't want any sort of disruption.

How often do we consider our choices from that perspective? Will this choice add\detract from my relationship with the Father? Do I ever consider the pain and disappointment my Father feels when I fail? Especially when I choose to fail?

Sin always steals something. And when we choose wrongly, one thing it always steals is our connection to the Father. At the time of the choice, we evidently value the sin more than the connection.

Maybe our moment by moment connection is so flimsy, that we are not aware of any difference it makes in our lives?

Maybe our "check off the to-do list" style is more a religion -- instead of a relationship -- that we care to admit?

NOTE: Just to make sure there is no confusion ... Part of walking in relationship is concern (almost, protecting) the other person's heart. Another part is open-hearted communication. My example was about the first. It is not a very good example of the second. Indeed, it could be looked at as not being honest. Which in a way it is not. Still, is it good to tell everyone every bad thing you ever did? Selective communication may be kinder in the long run. Not lying, just choosing not to talk.

But the primary focus is guarding the heart of the one you are in relationship with.

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