Lately a word that has been stuck in my mind has been rhythm. Being a musician, it’s a word I am familiar with the term and it’s usage in music, but I mean it in a different sense. I’m talking about a life rhythm, a daily rhythm of particular habits. The word rhythm literally means, “a strong, regular, repeated pattern”, and in this way I think that word is important to understand in relationship to our spiritual lives. Time and time again God has been bringing back to my attention this theme of being spiritually disciplined towards the end of spiritual growth and transformation in my life, but though it’s an easy concept to understand, it’s a hard concept to apply. Paul said to Timothy, a young minister, to “exercise yourself towards godliness;” Paul also said of himself in 1 Corinthians 9: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
The importance of having a rhythm of life is indispensable and has proved in my life to be difficult, yet extremely rewarding and profitable. I believe that the desire for change is universal. Who doesn’t want to do better, to be a better person, to live a better life today than they did yesterday? But it takes time. The path of spiritual growth is a long one and takes consistency. Right now, God keeps reminding me to get back into a rhythm of life. To have a strong, regular, repeated pattern of prayer every morning; of reading and meditating on and memorizing Scripture; of fasting; of keeping a healthy Sabbath; of remembering God throughout the day; of giving and generosity, etc. Even knowing that, I personally slip out of these habits and out of that life-giving rhythm so easily and I need God’s help to get back into it more often than I’d like to admit.
From what I’ve learned over this last season of life is that change is not something that is within our capacity to do. God changes and sanctifies our lives. That growth, change, maturity, spiritual formation, whatever you want to call it, is a partnership with the Holy Spirit. Spiritual disciplines are a means to an end, but not the end themselves. To quote a pastor I often listen to, “without Him we can’t, but without us He won’t.” I love the passage in Galatians 5 where Paul talks about the “fruit of the spirit.” Think about it: in a garden, the growth of the fruit is not very measurable or noticeable until you look back at where it started weeks or months down the road.
So what about you? Ask God today what He would have your life rhythm to be. What do you want your day to look like? How can you apply yourself to be disciplined as a means of partnering with the Holy Spirit to grow and change? I pray God would give us each the desire to seek Him above everything else in our lives.