We all have rhythms in our everyday life. For some of us, we have a specific workplace we go to every day and a certain time when we go workout. For others it’s a morning routine: we grab our phones, check the Wall Street Journal or our Facebook account and then drink some coffee.
What we think, what we watch, what we do – every aspect of our life – whether intentional or unintentional, is our rhythm.
But we have sacred rhythms, too.
Sacred rhythms are a specific way we arrange our life to cultivate a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus.
That means everything – from what we read, to what we think about, to what we do and why – is arranged in a very specific way in order to have a very personal relationship with Christ.
The goal is what I’d like to call True Spirituality. It’s nothing more than the life of Christ reproduced in us through the Holy Spirit as we cooperate and respond to God’s Word in faith and obedience.
Some of us think this means reading the Bible more, praying more, being more moral, doing all kinds of certain things to somehow earn God’s favor. But it’s not!
True spirituality is about allowing Jesus’ life to get reproduced in us.
Every up, every down, every relationship, and every circumstance, God is sovereignly orchestrating to get our attention, to draw us to Himself, and then to, little by little, make us more and more like Jesus so that our thoughts, words, deeds, and even our motives reflect Him.
The goal is to become so much like Christ that He would begin to live out through our personalities in everything we do every day.
The question is: How does that happen?
How does the Spirit of God take normal, regular people like us and, over time, produce the life of Christ in us?
Here’s what we need to understand: For God to significantly work through us, He must first work deeply in us.
In Mark, chapter 4, Jesus illustrates this truth in a parable about a farmer and the seed that falls on four different paths. On three of the four paths nothing happens. Only one path produces a crop.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” (Mark 4:3-8)
In this story, the seed represents God’s Word. The farmer is Jesus. And the soil is our hearts.
The seed is always life giving. In good soil, the seed will produce everything God wants it to produce. But if the soil is hardened, shallow, or full of thorns, it can’t produce.
The same is true of us in our lives.
How we respond to God’s Word will determine our relationship with Him.
We need to be taking in His Word regularly. But we can’t merely gain knowledge about God’s Word. Or just hear it only. We need to be able to receive it and live it out.
And this begins in our hearts.
If our hearts are hardened, then we might not want to hear what God is saying to us. Or maybe we are zealous about the Word and think, “Oh! That sounds so exciting!” But then we neglect to follow through.
Or, we may hear the Word and begin to grow spiritually, but we can quickly become distracted by many things: the worries of relationships, the worries of a child, the worries of finances, the deceitfulness of riches.
But, if our hearts are open, we can realize when God is speaking. Then we can know when it’s Him who is telling us that He is good and we can trust Him and believe Him. And then we can act on it.
Remember, cultivating a sacred rhythm of getting into God’s Word is not about checking a box. “Oh, I read a chapter in my Bible today.” Or, “I read my verse of the day on YouVersion and I bet God loves me even more now.” It’s about a living, powerful Word that has to be received in our hearts before it can be applied.
For more on how to cultivate practices to help you grow in intimate relationship with Jesus, join Chip Ingram and his son, Ryan Ingram, in the series Sacred Rhythms.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip