Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such hostility against Himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children — “My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are punished by Him; for the Lord disciplines those whom He loves, and chastises every child whom He accepts.” Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:1-7)
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Routine is an inherent part of life. We seek to find schedules and methods that benefit us, and we uphold them because we find ease in consistency and convenience.
However, in the midst of a demanding, disordered life, how often do we find ourselves settling for less? It’s effortless to get up, follow our schedule, then sleep at night, only to repeat the same thing day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Habit is our crutch as human beings, but how does consistency effect our relationship with God, which often takes the back burner?
Stability is both a beautiful and dangerous thing in light of faith. How glorious is it to know that our God is always faithful and never changing? Our God is a breathtaking, promising, perfect God. God is perfect in terms of His consistency, but we are terribly weak in terms of our own.
As Christians, there are things we are generally supposed to do to be considered “good Christians.” One of those things is going to church. For many of us, we grew up attending and it’s become a habit for us. Habits often lead to two lifestyles: a strong, structured one, or one that is weak and falling apart. When God is simply an addition to our routine, what does that mean for our lifestyle?
Growing up, my family loaded up in the car and went to church every week. It was a habit for me, and nothing more. My church preferred a traditional, scripted, responsive service that was essentially the exact same thing every week for my entire childhood. Services of this nature are not wrong whatsoever and are effective some people. But growing up, I didn’t understand our service, what we were saying, or the significance behind any of it.
I began tuning out the words and zoning off during the sermon. As I grew older, I began to dread church. I couldn’t feel God there and I never felt moved. Rather, I felt dead in my faith. This led to me straying away from God in both my beliefs and actions. My life quickly became miserable, but I kept going to church because of the unspoken expectation. I couldn’t understand where my fault was.
Shortly before I graduated high school, I was distressed. My life was heading somewhere I wasn’t comfortable with and I needed guidance. I could feel God trying to reach me. A friend in one of my classes invited me to go to church with her one Wednesday and I agreed, willing to give anything a shot.
That night, the pastor preached about how pursuing a relationship with God could lift the weight of the world off our shoulders. I learned that God couldn’t be of equal or less importance to the other things in my life. I grasped that I couldn’t be a part-time Christian on Sunday and forget about God the other six days of the week. Realizing there was still hope, I truly accepted Christ into my heart for the first time in my life and was saved that night.
Habits are hard to break, but it’s even harder to start new ones. It took a huge leap of faith for me to lift my eyes to God and trust Him with my life, especially when it was easier to trust myself. With the help of God, I made Him my first priority and then good habits, like reading the Bible and praying daily, fell into place on their own. God completely changed my life.
It’s easy to fall to hypocrisy as a Christian. When we get used to going through the motions but we don’t have belief and trust in our hearts, are we living the life God has called us to live?
Our God is never changing, but we aren’t God. We’re people, and people change. Along with change comes challenge, but if we aren’t challenging ourselves, are we living flat, stagnant lives? Give up mediocrity in your faith life. With challenge comes growth, and I can assure you wholeheartedly that pursuing a relationship with God, and not religion, will strengthen every aspect of your life.
God is worth it.
written by: Gwyneth Udy
You can follow Gwyneth on Instagram: @GwynethUdy_