Desiring to make my life redemptive and life giving, allowing me to teach others and share my faith… and knowing that God is a communicating God and that he has used words to communicate to human beings since the Garden—and acknowledging that scripture is a primary way that Holy Spirit reveals God to us: I will attend to the God who speaks—to the reality and wonder of his word. Desiring the transformation of my being through the renewing of my mind, I seek to know what the Bible says and how it informs and intersects with my life. Thus I will focus my attention on it, seeking to understand and apply its truths to my actual life. Desiring to love God with my mind and to internalize his word, I will get the means necessary to do so: dictionaries, commentaries, study guides, teachers, etc.
Vow to get started: (Calhoun & Foster) Working with the assumption that fasting(s) of various kinds and duration were practiced by Jesus and are normative to the spiritual growth of the people of God, and feeling led to deepen my Lenten practice by cooperating with the person and work of the Holy Spirit in the shaping of my soul, in self-denial I will set aside some aspect of my appetites, cravings and attachments—and the entitlements behind them—in order to concentrate more deeply on God and his work in me. Setting aside judgments, in fasting I seek to notice any compulsions or addictions in me and then repent, re-think or reorder my life as needed…I will let my practice of emptying or relinquishment remind me that Jesus will accompanies me in life and will satisfy me…as I do this I peacefully leave the outcomes of fasting completely in the hands of God…
Ephesians 2:1-10 and John 3:14-21
1. Sit with Jesus as you read his words to Nicodemus in John 3:14-21. Pay attention to what you hear. What comes up in you as you listen in on the conversation?
2. Teacher teaches teacher. The assumption was that the teachers of the Law, of Israel were “in the know.” (Jn.3:9-10) Yet it seems there were things Nicodemus didn’t actually know: things pertaining to the Spirit. Most of us have experienced a lot of bible studies, good teaching sermons, year after year. Many are very educated in theology, religion, culture, sciences, psychology. We can even unknowingly think we know it all! Notice Nicodemus’ humility to ask honestly about things he didn’t understand. Is there anything that seems confusing to you right now in your life? Are there dynamics of the spiritual life or the ministry of the Holy Spirit you don’t get? Or maybe haven’t experienced but would like to grow in or receive? Spend time talking to Jesus about these. Listen to him, his words, the intuitions and impressions of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. Open your heart to God. Maybe there is a need or desire to confess spiritual pride in thinking that you “know it all already.”
3. Life in the Spirit can be mysterious, we will never know it all or fully get the things of God. His ways are infinite, which means we must learn to live loosely with mystery. Yet at the same time there are knowable effects of God, manifestations of the Spirit and the Kingdom-Life God intends for us. Like the wind that blows and we hear the chimes or see the trees, yet do not know where it comes from. What would it look like for you this week to be open to the mystery of God in your own life? Freer to enjoy the gusts of the wind, blowing, inviting you into the unforced rhythms of grace and the flow of the Spirit?