Sometimes I feel distant from God…

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4 hours of work 20 seconds of destruction

When I was younger, I use to make bridges out of cards. My brother and I had a collection of Pokemon and Yugioh cards laying around that I would use.

I would start with five cards and eventually, after hours, I would have a hallway length bridge that had no real use.

I would spend hours and hours making this bridge that allowed my hot wheel cars to roll across, and my brother would come over and in the matter of second reduce it to a pile of cards again.

I don’t know what was worse, thinking that my card bridges were impressive or thinking that my brother wouldn’t destroy them as soon as he saw them.

I get this way a lot in my faith. I build what I think is a wonderful relationship with God. I spend days reading more than normal or praying more than normal. From the outside looking in, I would have a “sturdy bridge,” or a solid relationship with God.

All that is ruined and demolished at the simplest signs of trouble or stress. That’s why I end up confused as to why I feel distant from God or why my relationship seems so temporarily hollow.

How can this be? How could I feel so confident one second and so empty the next? How could I have this seemingly strong foundation one moment and a pile of rubble the next?

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I don’t eat from dirty dishes

Matthew 23:25-26 says, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First, clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

Jesus was talking to the Pharisees here. He was making it clear that you can look great on the outside, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

If you clean your dish on the outside perfectly, I mean you scrub them, and they are shiny and nice but leave caked up food and gross stuff on the inside, you probably won’t use that dish.

In the same way, we need to focus our hearts on Jesus rather than what we look like on the outside. If our bridge looks beautiful from the outside but is made of cards only, then it will just crumble to the ground at any time.

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Apple Trees don’t make oranges

Mathew 7:18 describes it a different way. It says, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”

I love this depiction as well as others throughout the bible like a fresh well won’t produce salt water and vice versa.

Regardless of the illustration, the point is clear. The Pharisees were so worried about their outward religious appearances that they neglected the issues in their own heart. That’s why Jesus had to knock them back down to reality in Matthew 23:25-26 to make it clear that focusing on the heart will lead to the genuine change and permanent foundation.

That’s why Jesus had to knock them back down to reality in Matthew 23:25-26 to make it clear that focusing on the heart will lead to the genuine change and permanent foundation.

So where are you? Are you needlessly building a bridge of cards only to be destroyed? Are you an apple tree trying to produce oranges? Are you a dying tree that you are trying to

Are you needlessly building a bridge of cards only to be destroyed?

Are you an apple tree trying to produce oranges? Are you a dying tree that you are trying to

Are you a dying tree that you are trying to revive with living fruit?

Here is a quick test to see:

Read Galatians 5:16-25 and see which on you fit in with most.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentlenesses and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Here is you challenge this week.

  1. If you found yourself mostly in the acts of the flesh
    1. Ask God to tear down your fake bridge and uproot your tree. Ask God to build you a new bridge with the foundation of Christ and to plant a new tree that will bear the fruit of the spirit.
    2. Ask God to forgive you for your sins and continue to walk in the newness of Christ.
  2. If you found yourself mostly in the fruit of the Spirit with the occasional bad fruit
    1. Ask God to remove the bad fruit to make way for a more plentiful harvest and fresh fruit and to continue to grow your healthy tree.
    2. Find ways to remind yourself that apple trees don’t produce oranges.

 

John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

 

 

 

Cards

Bowl

Fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

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