Finding Your Foundation

Intro

If your life feels unstable right now, ask yourself, what is your foundation? If you’ve gone through a few of the different topics and subtopics we have on Rezlife, then you are probably starting to get the idea that every day prayer and Bible study are pretty important, as well as getting involved with a community of other believers and helping those around you. That’s because these things are part of what forms the foundation of our faith and life. When we are  followers of Christ, we are instructed to exercise spiritual discipline regularly throughout our lives.
Why? Because these little daily things can open up the doors to a whole new world of truth and understanding. In Scripture we find God and the truth behind everything. Through prayer and fellowship we gain understanding of this information as well as the world around us, and communion and worship is how we give and receive help with this process and work to put what we have learned into practice. This is the foundation we build upon - the Rock of Jesus Christ - and it is how believers can find stability in any circumstance. So wherever you are in your life, whether you have committed to living as a follower of Christ or not, I would encourage you to take the plunge and introduce some of these concepts and spiritual disciplines into your life. You will find that your understanding of God and the whole universe will deepen, and you will attain a stability in your life you have never had before.

 

Story

When I was younger I really screwed up, and my life was in total ruins. I thought I knew the rights things. I thought I knew better than anyone else. And I tried to live my life according to my best judgment, doing what I thought was right, and all of it quickly fell apart. My parents offered to help and one thing they asked of me was that I commit to a small list of daily tasks like spending 20 minutes reading the Bible, and another 10 praying or journaling my prayers to God, going to church every week, joining a small group, and meeting one on one with an older Christian to talk about life issues.

When my parents asked this of me, what could I say? I mean I was already a Christian, and it wasn’t like I had a good excuse. I had already said I believed that Jesus was my Lord and Savior and that God knew the best way for us to live our lives and had a plan for the entire world . I already said I believed all that. It’s not like I could back out and be like “uh, I believe that but I don’t think that we should actually, like, do what you say!?!”  

So I committed to giving it a real try. I didn’t do all of these things at once; but I started doing one of them and then another and then another, slowly building them into my life. And even though they usually didn’t take more than an hour of my time, I was surprised to see how these little daily tasks brought a great amount of stability and peace to my life.

It was really amazing how doing a few things each day with regularity and commitment brought a huge change into my life. I never ever would have guessed that these small disciplines would usher in God’s transformation in my life. I can honestly say, with a few years behind me, that these small things have changed my life and opened up my relationship with God in ways I never dreamed possible. Through Christ I have been able to tackle problems in my life and understand the brokenness of the world around me in new ways.

That’s the truth that at is offered through a relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s the truth that we find in Scripture – a God who offers the REAL solution. The world has come up with so many ways of figuring out how to get through the crap that is our lives. But none of them are real solutions because they are all built upon lies. It’s very accurate that we call Satan the Father of Lies. Because when we start to look at sin and our motivation, then we see the true brokenness of this world and the true brokenness of each of us as we come in to it.

We are not born good, we are born broken. That doesn’t mean bad. That means separated from God. That means without the TRUTH of what a real life is. And so we come up with all of these solutions that have nothing to do with the truth. We manufacture these solutions out of our own broken and sinful nature, and unfortunately the Devil is all too happy to provide us with other half truths and deceptive perspectives.

That’s the nature of lies. They are so insidious. So manipulative. They are so hard to spot because they often are disguised as almost truths, coated with real stories, with bits and pieces that are factual; but when you taint even a piece of the truth with a lie, the entire thing becomes false. It’s just like that whole brownie thing - would you eat a brownie from a batch with a little cat poop mixed in? It’s only a little piece but it ruins the whole batch. That’s what a lie is! And our world doesn’t just have one piece of it; it has mounds and mounds poured into it. And we are no different.

What these spiritual disciplines bring into our lives is a daily injection of God’s truth. It’s what helps us continuously to see the world through his eyes and understand our purpose because we understand his greater purpose is through Jesus Christ coming down specifically to have a relationship with each and every one of us so that we may know him and know the truth. That means this is very important and we should dedicate a great amount of time to it, not just less than an hour a day. But really, just a small difference can bring about a great change. 

Bible intro

If you have spent some time in Scripture before today, you are probably used to the unique way it’s worded and the distinct “Bible speech” we read there. Today though, take a second and wipe the slate clean of it all and read this passage with fresh eyes. Consider what a vital part truth plays in our faith and understanding of God. When the Bible says things like “those who believe” and “acting in faith” or “trusting in God,” what it’s actually talking about is TRUTH. Jesus came to tell us the truth about this world and who we are – that’s what frees us! When we believe that what he says is really the truth and everything else we have believed up until now is a lie – or at least tainted with lies (remember those brownies!) So when we “act in faith” we are living according to truth rather than the lies everyone else is still fooled by – that’s something to celebrate!

Personal Questions
1. Have you already decided to believe the truth that Jesus tells us?
2. Have you acknowledged that Jesus is Lord and your Savior? Why or why not?
3. Do you believe that the truth of God is the real complete truth? Why or why not?
4. How is the lack of truth affecting your life?
5. What sins do you continue to struggle with because you believe the lie that they are telling you? (ex. I continue to get angry because I don’t believe God will protect me and make things right. I continue to overeat because I don’t believe that I am precious and adored by the Creator.)
6. Do you believe that small daily disciplines can really make a difference?
7. Are you willing to commit to trying regardless of what you think? Why or why not?
Prayer

Father God, I do believe in you. I believe in Jesus and the salvation he offers us. I believe all of these things in my head but it’s so easy to forget them in my heart. Help me to learn your truth more every day. Let it sink in, seep into my soul and begin to change me! I want a life filled with your truth and the light and peace that come with it. Help me! Guide me and give me courage! I trust in you. Amen.

411

If you are interested in reading a great article that’s a little more intellectual and theological, take a look at Dallas Willard’s Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Formation and the Restoration of the Soul. It’s a really great hunk of truth to sink your teeth into!
http://www.dwillard.org/articles/artview.asp?artID=57

Challenge

My challenge for you this time is kind of multi-leveled. You can take it as far as you want. The minimum is this: read this psalm aloud 3 times right now and 1 time each day for the next week. I want you to immerse yourself in the Word of God and practice getting up close and personal with the truth revealed to us. Taking it further is up to you, but I would encourage you to push yourself beyond where you have gone in the past. Memorize it, rewrite it in your own words, write music for it, do research on the original Hebrew and study up on Psalms and their composition, design a tattoo that condenses the truth, just have a conversation with another person about it! There are lots of ways to further interact with Scripture and it will amaze you to see how God’s truth will begin to seep into your heart and transform your life!

Psalm 19

God's Glory in Creation

How clearly the sky reveals God's glory!

    How plainly it shows what he has done!

Each day announces it to the following day;

    each night repeats it to the next.

No speech or words are used,

    no sound is heard;

yet their message goes out to all the world

    and is heard to the ends of the earth.

    God made a home in the sky for the sun;

It comes out in the morning like a happy bridegroom,

    like an athlete eager to run a race.

It starts at one end of the sky

    and goes across to the other.

    Nothing can hide from its heat.

The Law of the LORD

The law of the LORD is perfect;

    it gives new strength.

The commands of the LORD are trustworthy,

    giving wisdom to those who lack it.

The laws of the LORD are right,

    and those who obey them are happy.

The commands of the LORD are just

    and give understanding to the mind.

Reverence for the LORD is good;

    it will continue forever.

The judgments of the LORD are just;

    they are always fair.

They are more desirable than the finest gold;

    they are sweeter than the purest honey.

They give knowledge to me, your servant;

    I am rewarded for obeying them.

None of us can see our own errors;

    deliver me, LORD, from hidden faults!

Keep me safe, also, from willful sins;

    don't let them rule over me.

Then I shall be perfect

    and free from the evil of sin.

May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you,

    O LORD, my refuge and my redeemer!

Quizical

Lying is a pretty clear indicator that we are not living our lives in pursuit of truth. If you’re curious how well you do at staying truthful, take this short quiz! And be sure to spend some time talking with God about how you interact with truth.

http://christianteens.about.com/od/christianliving/a/honestyquiz.htm

Scripture

Colossians 3:16-17

Joshua 1:7-9

Proverbs 4:6-9

Mark 7:20-23

John 3:3

1 Timothy 4:6-10

Luke 6:47-49

Video

Take a look at this video of Mandisa’s “He is With You.” Let the truth of who God is seep into your heart and bring peace and stability to your life.

While you may not care about building a house of your own, the principle of building a proper foundation in this video is transferable to life. You should note that as this foundation is poured, it prepares the way for everything else to come in building the entire house (the part you actually see!).

Life Questions
1. Rewrite Romans 1:16-25 in a journal or notebook. Use your own words and emphasize the parts that you think are important. You can even try drawing, rhyming, or writing some words creatively (like making the work “look” have eyes or the word fool have a jester’s hat) This is great practice at pulling truth out of Scripture. If you like it, this counts as one of those little daily tasks you can do to spend time in the Word of God and talking with him about the truths he wants to teach you.
2. Look at the Supporting Scripture section and choose one to memorize this week. Put it by your bed, fridge, locker, or somewhere you will see it multiple times a day. Tell a family member or close friend why you chose that verse and what you need to understand about Jesus Christ’s presence in your life.
3. Make a list of things that you want to build your life on (a foundation). Consider how it compares to what God says we should build upon?
Reflect

Take some time going over this Scripture from a letter written by St. Paul and looking up some common spiritual disciplines. Then take each part of the armor and identify one or more disciplines that develop that section. It would be really great if you had an internal, external, and corporate example for each (look those up!) Make sure to talk to God as you do this and be ready to listen to his response.

Ephesians 6:10-20

The Whole Armor of God

Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.

So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God's people. And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel's secret. For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison. Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should.