This Summer we have been in a conversation regarding the rhythms we are called to keep as the people of God and the practices we are invited to partake of in order to follow Jesus to the life that is truly life. Some have called these: Christian practices, the way of Jesus, or spiritual disciplines.
This series is a look at how we are shaped by the things that we do repeatedly and intentionally. We examined how our character can be transformed and how we are not left to mere wishing or hoping that we can be changed but there are actually things we can do so that our schedule reflects our values and we can grow toward Christ-likeness. It’s important to recognize that we are not the ones that bring about this change on our own. Our job is to show up fully to these practices and in them it is the Spirit of God that brings about the change in us that we can not do on our own.
To start off, we looked at the Rhythms of Space. We looked at how these rhythms push back the noise of a busy calendar, cluttered soul, and tired mind, so that the Spirit can meet us in a new way and do a new work inside our hearts as we slowly learn to simply, show up.
However the spiritual life does not end with space. Once that space is carved out, the Spirit meets us there and draws us deeper into genuine connection with God, God’s people, and God’s world. The Rhythms of Connection taught us that we are wired for true and authentic relationship. The articles in this collection showed us ways to enter fully into what an abundant life can look like where we are cared for and where we can belong.
Now, to round out this conversation and turn our attention to the Rhythms of Resistance.
Holy Struggle and the Resistance of Jesus
Throughout Scripture, you can see that there is a story of struggle on every page. From a garden on page three all the way to the end of Revelation, the story of scripture is the story of God defeating evil. This evil is a collaboration of spiritual forces, personal rebellion, and systemic injustices.
Jesus himself lived a life of resistance with his teachings and actions and he invites all who follow him to be a part of bringing the Kingdom of God by challenging evil in their own day and age and through their every day life.
These practices of Justice, Sabbath, Secrecy, and Generosity (and many more) are all personal and communal ways to resist the forces of Empire and Evil in your own heart and in our world. Following Jesus’ call to peacemaking is full and true discipleship. Without resistance, we settle for a less-than faith and an incomplete discipleship.
The order of these collections in this conversation is intentional. It’s not about stages or levels but it’s about rhythms. As you lean in and participate in the life of Jesus, you will get tired and weary (because you are not God…duh.) and so you will need to again have your soul replenished through space and connection by participating in the practices of silence, solitude, community, scripture, and all the other things we have talked about. But these things fill you up only to be emptied again as Jesus calls you into a self-giving and sacrificial love for the healing of the world and the resistance of evil.
The beauty of our resistance is that we do not fight using the tactics of evil but we follow a God who is victorious through his sacrifice. When we live from a place of sacrificial love, we participate in the victory that Jesus secured and thus we defeat evil in our own heart and in our own day.
As always, here is how I challenge you to engage and get the most out of this series/
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS SERIES
- Actually practice it...Like, do the things.
This series is an invitation to actually disrupt the flow of your life and make some intentional choices about how you bring all parts of yourself and your life under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Some of these things will be very familiar and other things will be completely new. But, if you choose to take a risk and intentionally take action, you will open yourself up to a new way of experiencing God and life. But this won’t happen simply by reading. It will require action. Experimentation. An Active Curiosity.
- Reflect on what comes up
The reality is that some of what we engage in over the next few weeks will be come very natural to you. Other practices will simple just be...ok. Regardless of which practices you “like” or don’t, there is something to be learned in all of them.
Make sure that as you are doing each of these, you are paying attention to what comes up in your own heart and mind. Be sure to capture these things so that you can track your growth over time. (Did I mention we had a worksheet for this??)
- Don’t do it alone!
This one is simple. You could practice all of these rhythms and you could reflect on your own what you see happening in you while you do them (as you should) but there is something powerful in practicing these things alongside other people.
We encourage you to think through two or three other guys who you want to invite into this journey with you. Maybe you plan on meeting up regularly to talk about what is happening with each of you through these rhythms. Maybe you take time to practice them together. Whatever it looks like for you, don’t cheat yourself out of the beauty of seeking growth with others.
Let’s do this!
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Jonathon grew up in six different states across the Western United States. He made his way to Southern California to attend Vanguard University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. Currently, he is pursuing a Master's of Divinity Degree at Azusa Pacific University where he also works doing campus ministry with college students. Jonathon is passionate about discipleship to Jesus and innovation, especially when those two spaces meet. He aspires to encourage people to live well-curated lives of purpose and passion. You can find Jonathon living in his beloved city of Costa Mesa, California with his amazing wife, Cyndi. Oh yeah, and he is a HUGE Raiders fan.