"...it is the trust and faith of the heart alone that make both God and an idol...Any thing on which your heart relies and depends, I say, that is really your God." Martin Luther
The catechism teaching of the First Commandment was an a-ha moment for me, because I recall thinking that it was the easiest commandment to keep. I thought, I don't go to a church that worships another god. I don't say prayers to another god. No problem. Luther taught me the question, "on which does your heart rely and depend?" This is a different perspective, getting to the heart of the First Commandment. Luther thought the First was the hardest to keep, not the easiest. He believed that there is no such thing as an atheist, because every heart has something upon which they trust and rely. For me, this can even be more nuanced. I can't say that my heart continually trusts and relies on something other or someone else than God. I am a person of some fleeting loyalties. I have made vows to serve my wife, children, and God. Do I truly trust God to address the challenges of all these vows? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes I use television to "medicate" and help me forget the problems of the day. Sometimes I pray. Sometimes I eat something. Sometimes I go for a run. How does God want me to respond to the challenges and pains of the day? Maybe that is a good question to ask.
How do I experience my relationship with God at this time?
The fact that I am actually answering this question means that I am in a "better" place with God than I usually I am. As previously written, I have an evolving relationship with the concept of discipline. Being more disciplined doesn't make my faith necessarily better. However, I find that when I am disciplined in nurturing my faith life, I am better equipped to address adversity and live a life of service that to which God has called me. Discipline is also fleeting for me. I remember while serving my internship, I was going through all kinds of personal and spiritual struggles. I read the Bible and prayed every day. Some days, it was the only way I was going to get through the day. I can't say I was a better Christian on those days, in fact, I look back on those days and think that my actions and words were terrible. But I did see God in the midst of those trials because of my discipline--and it allowed me to see grace when it is most tempting to beat myself up. This is one of the reasons that evil/devil/satan has the name "accuser--" the voice inside that reminds me of all the things I have done wrong. My life of faith is more disciplined these days, and that is a good thing, but discipline doesn't make me a better follower of Christ.