Season of the Spirit / Season of the Flesh: Where Willpower Goes to Die
Season of the Spirit / Season of the Flesh, part 7: Where Willpower Goes to Die
Season of the Spirit/ Season of the Flesh: Gentleness and Self-Control
By Cameron Silsbee
Lectio Divina: 2 Peter 1v2-4 (20 minutes)
Have one person read these instructions out loud to the group.
As a group, do your best to be in an environment with minimal distractions. Make sure everyone has access to a Bible and a way to take notes. You will be doing a time of Lectio Divina together, slowly and prayerfully reading through a portion of Scripture. Each person will work through the steps of Lectio Divina for the text quietly. After about 15 minutes, you will talk about your experience with your Community.
Open your Bibles to 2 Peter chapter 1. You will be reading verses 2 through 4. Follow the Lectio Divina rhythm of reading and praying through the text. If you are unfamiliar with Lectio Divina or are a bit fuzzy on the steps, write them down to help you remember as you read the text. These are the steps:
- Read: Slowly and carefully read the text to yourself. Take your time. As you move through the text, pay close attention to what words and ideas draw your attention in unique ways. When your focus is drawn to a particular word or thought, pause momentarily to reflect on them.
- Reflect: Upon completing the passage, return to the beginning and read again. On your second time through the text, allow it to connect with you personally. Which words or phrases assume a particular significance in your heart, your season of life, or your relationships? Write these down.
- Respond: Talk to God about your experience. If you’re confused, say that. Moved? Express gratitude to God. Upset? Tell him about it. If the text has brought something else to mind, talk to God about that.
- Rest: Finish your time by sitting quietly in God’s presence. You might express wonder, awe, gratitude, or praise through words, or you might allow yourself to feel and experience these things in silence before God.
Make sure everyone understands what they are doing before starting. Once the group is ready, have someone pray, inviting the Spirit to quiet your hearts and minds and guide your time together. Set a timer for 15 minutes (or whatever appropriate length time your group needs. Don’t be in a hurry) and begin.
Once the timer goes off, discuss the text together.
Discuss the text (5-10 minutes)
Peter talks about the importance of the knowledge of God (who he is and what he’s done for us), the promises God gives us (understanding what he does and will do for us), and participation in the divine nature (think: living in intimacy and on the same page with God).
Which of these three areas do you feel are lacking at the moment in your life?
Praying together (15 minutes)
Have one person open your time of prayer by inviting the Holy Spirit to speak during this time. Acknowledge the fact that God is gentle with us, and not harsh, and then invite him to speak to you about where your desires and passions are broken or sinful. Take a few minutes to quietly listen.
After listening, go around the group and have one person pray for each individual. It’s not necessary for each person to share what came to mind, but they can if they are comfortable doing so. Pray for the person to grow in self-control through the Spirit, and for God to change any broken or sinful desires and passions the person has.
Have one person end your time by expressing gratitude to God for speaking, hearing, and being present with you.
Set aside two times this week to practice Lectio Divina as you read through 2 Peter 1v5-9.
Day 1: Practice Lectio Divina as you read 2 Peter 1v5-9. As Peter lists out what to add to your faith, write down which ones resonate with you. Pray about these and ask God to give you wisdom in how to add these to your life.
Day 2: Practice Lectio Divina as you read 2 Peter 1v5-9. As you read Peter’s list again, notice anything else that stands out to you. Pray again about what stood out to you from Day 1 and anything else that stood out to you from Day 2. Ask yourself, “what do I need to do in response to this?” Talk to someone in your Community or a trusted friend to help process your thoughts.