Summary: What can you do, what can you do to break that cycle of mistrust between you and that other person?

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We are in the middle of a series called Life Apps, and to kind of get our heads around where we’re going with this, especially if you haven’t been here during the series, I want to just ask you a couple of questions. How many of you, and you’ve to raise your hands on this, how many of you have ever purchased a treadmill, a piece of exercise equipment, have ever joined a health club or read a book about a diet or part of a book about a diet? Yes, that’s all of us. Now, isn’t it interesting, if you can go back in time when you’re touring that health club, you know—here’s the pool, here’s the locker room, here’s the exercise stuff and a gazillion treadmills, elliptical and TVs. Or they brought that treadmill in and they put it in that spare bedroom or your basement or wherever you put it. Or they built that exercise equipment, or you’re highlighting that book, and you’re going in your pantry and going, Got to get rid of that; got to get rid of that; get rid of that, and your kids are like really nervous, like, What are we going to eat? Do you know what you felt? All those experiences, you may have had all those experiences, but at least one of them; do you know what you felt? You felt healthier. You felt healthier when they delivered the treadmill. You just felt healthier.

You felt healthier when you toured the facility and you saw all that cool stuff. And then some of you bought exercise clothes and you got in the mirror and you thought, I’m already thinner, because it’s really tight. It’s like you just felt better; you just felt completely healthier. But were you healthier at that point? Not a trick question. Were you any healthier at that point? No—and here’s why. Because say it with me: Application makes all the difference. Joining a health club doesn’t make you any healthier. Reading a book on nutrition doesn’t make you healthier. Buying exercise equipment doesn’t make you any healthier. Starting the exercise stuff doesn’t make you any healthier, but we feel . . . I mean you really felt, if you think back, you felt like you were making progress, but you hadn’t.

Where I kind of default to in this whole kind of dynamic is I love to go to the home improvement stores and buy all the stuff for the home improvement project. It’s just so great, and I feel like, when I’m buying the stuff, that I’m making progress. And I get it all and get a little extra, you know, I didn’t even know they had one of those. This is going to make it easier. There’s just sort of this, I don’t know, a euphoria of it’s going to get painted, it’s going to get stained, it’s going to get fixed, it’s going to get built, it’s going to be cooler. And I just love that process. I feel, in the process, as if I’m making some kind of progress, like the house is getting better just buying the stuff.

Then I get home and I think, I’m tired. So, I set the stuff down in the bag, or the box, then I go have lunch, then I take a nap, and then I decide to do something else. I need to admit this; there are home improvement projects still in the box, in the bag, in my basement. Now they’ve moved from the garage, to the upstairs, to the basement, and I look at it and now I just feel guilty. But in the moment when I bought all that stuff, I felt I’m making progress. But the problem is this: Application makes all the difference. A bucket of paint when the paint’s in the bucket—your house doesn’t look any better. The application makes all the difference. Now, we all know that.

In the world of church and in the world of religion and in the world of spirituality, there’s this same dynamic at play, and here’s how it works here. You come to church, you feel convicted, you feel inspired, you feel like you got an answer to a question, you feel better, and when you’ve had all those feelings in church, you feel like, I’m making progress. I’m moving forward. You’re not. You might even come to church and be extremely bored. In fact, you know if one to ten—the average sermon experience is a five, a seven is like you’re super bored, and you’re thinking, This is so boring and so uninteresting. I’m sure I’m getting extra credit with God that I endured an even more than averaging boring experience in church.

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