Doctrine cannot exist merely in the isolation of the mind. Doctrine, what we believe must affect every area of our lives. Doctrine must certainly in the Christian experience be married to the heart of man, the Holy Spirit and intimate relationship with God our Father.

Most definitions of doctrine stop a little short of doctrine lived out, they include that which is taught, beliefs which are held and bind groups together. Christianity does not exist without it but nor can that which we believe sit in isolation of relationship with the triune God.

When I say that if my doctrine adversely affects my relationships that I may have to adjust my doctrine I am not suggesting a compromise of what I believe but a review and understanding of the context in which my doctrine is held and expressed.

It is like the telephoto lens in a camera, it contains several elements (lenses) and these are moved back and forth to bring the subject into focus and the lense must also be attached to a camera.

A merely intellectual doctrine, stated outside of relationship with the Father and lacking the power of the Holy Spirit needs adjusting. The elements need to be connected and ‘focussed’.

The Apostle Paul said that he did not come with clever words but in power. He of all the early church leaders and Apostles was qualified to come with clever words but he activated the heart, the spirit and did it in the context of relationship with God and those around him. Of course there were those that hated him as was the case with Jesus, but they as Danny Silk would say kept their love on. If others shut down the relationship that was out of their control but they retained the capacity to extend relationships even to those who wanted to see them dead.

Paul wrote to Timothy about having a form of Godliness but without power. Like a lens without a camera, it lacks the ability to take the word and do something with it.

A camera lens must be attached to the camera and held by someone who knows what to do with it. That is our challenge, to do something with what we believe and while not compromising what we hold to be true being conscious of the effect on those around us.