1 John 4:19 “We love, because he first loved us.” For my whole life I’ve maintained a relatively disciplined workout routine. Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered with my new trainer Boo (and the system he teaches called Funtional Patterns) that while lifting weights did make me stronger, it also tore apart my body and led to structural imbalances. These already cause some pain, and I know that as I age the pain and the imabalances that cause them will only get worse. Discipline is a good thing, but when applied in the wrong way it can lead to disastrous results. If I’m honest with myself, I’ve been in a spiritual rut over the last week. I’ve tried to get past the hump with spiritual discipline. I’ve opened my bible, plowed through our house church materials, sang some worship songs, but it’s all felt a little too much like going through the motions. But this morning in prayer I asked God what He wanted me to do today, and here was his response. “John, I love you. I honor that you submit your will to mine, but asking me what I want you ‘to do’ is the wrong question.” “Ok God, then what’s the right question?” “Ask me ‘how much do you love me?’ Because if you ask me that, I’ll answer you with the most beautiful of sunsets. I’ll answer you with the sweetest expression on your child’s face. I’ll answer you with the love of a father who’s more concerned with his children’s state of mind than the state of his own cancer.” I broke down as the spirit of God fell on me. I felt closer and more covered in the rest of that session than I have in a really long time, and I guess that makes sense. See the bible says that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. That does mean spending time in prayer, reading the word and serving others. God wants us to partake in these activites, but when we do so out of a sense of duty, to check a box because we’re “so disciplined”, it leads to serious imbalances. Martha, the prodigal son’s brother and the Pharisees are testament. The root of our love for God must be God’s love for us. Once we remember the lengths to which He goes, prayer and service become not things you “have to do”, but things you “get to do.” Lord thank you for balancing the imbalances. Thank you for righting the wrongs. Thank you for traversing heaven and earth in search of relationship with me. In your son’s name, Amen.