On Monday when I first posted about Rhythm I left you with two questions:
What are “these” that Paul was referring to?
What are the things on your list that don’t work for you any longer?
I’ve been spending lots of time with these two questions; since July just about. I had the privilege of preparing to teach our women’s Bible study this fall from chapter 4 of Ephesians. And as is always the case, I learn more than I am able to share in one lesson and I am challenged in my spiritual formation.
So the “these” that Paul was referring to in his letter to his friends, were the ways of living that they had been involved in before they came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Paul names some of “these”: futility of mind, darkened in understanding… Paul tells us “in reference to your former manner of life, lay aside the old self, …be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self…” What are the ways of living that you were involved in before you came to faith? I smile at this question because I know some of you came to faith at 4 so you might laugh at this question. But this question is not just about the outward actions as a way of life because the context is ‘the mind’. Paul is challenging us to recognize that the way we think needs to be changed not just the outside. In fact, Jesus tells us that it’s what is in a man’s heart that defiles him not what goes into the man.
Identifying your patterns of thought that don’t line up with Truth can be tricky because we can be deceived! Sometimes you need to get a trusted friend or a counselor to talk with and help you identify your harmful, destructive patterns of thought. Things you tell yourself when you make a mistake are a great place to start. “I’m so stupid!” “I’m an idiot!” “I’m such a loser!” You may not even be aware of your self talk.
It might not be the way you talk to yourself; it may be in how you think about those who have wronged you. It could be how you view your siblings, or parents or spouse. Because you’re human and your inherited nature is going in the opposite direction from God, there is something you don’t think rightly about.
But that leads to the second question: what are the things on your list that don’t work for you anymore?
Once you have identified the thing (or things if you’re anything like me!) that belong to your “former manner of life” then you have something to work with! Now the fun begins! Your current rhythms can be adjusted to fall in line with a rhythm that is life giving to yourself, to others and is glorifying to God.
If you haven’t taken time to label your answers to those two questions, I’d recommend the time. What comes next won’t be useful to you without real adjustments to make!