The Pattern – 19

“Be thankful.” (Psalm 118:29, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:19-21, Colossians 3:17, Hebrews 12:28) When you look at your attitude is it is characterized by thankfulness and gratitude or is it filled with envy, greed and entitlement? If it is filled with gratitude, take some time and share those things with God. If you are not as grateful as you would like to be, what caused this attitude to take root? What has been the result of carrying such an attitude in your heart? How has this affected your life? Do you desire to see this changed? What actions or attitudes cause you to become more grateful? How does the attitude of your heart impact your ability to follow Christ? It is easier to pursue Jesus if you heart is full of gratitude or filled with discontent? How would cultivating thankfulness change your life with Christ? What tangible step could you take, what rhythm of life could you incorporate, to help you to become more grateful?

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The Pattern – 18

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Philippians 3:21) Take a moment and think about the decisions you make. What effect does the narratives you believed have on your choices? How many of these stories are born out of you’re the desires of your flesh or a perspective that has been informed by the world? How many of them are grounded in the world view of Christ? What would it look like to allow the Holy Spirit to change the narratives that are contrary to the mind of Christ? What role would the Scriptures play in this process? How would the goal of renewing your mind change the way you approach Scriptures? What transformation would take place in your life if you approached the Bible this way? Pick one area of your thinking that needs to be renewed. Talk to God about it and how it has affected how you have lived. Give the Spirit permission to change your thinking in this area.

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The Pattern – 17

“Spend time in solitude and silence praying to God.” (Psalm 4:4, 46:10, 131:2, Matt. 14:23, Mark 1:35, 6:32, Luke 4:42) When was the last time you intentionally spent a morning or afternoon alone with God? Have you ever spent such an extended period of time with him? If not, why not? If you have, what was that experience like? Spending time talking to God about the joys or frustrations you may have felt during such an experience? What would it look like to build a regular time of solitude and silence into your life? When could you make time for it? Maybe it could simply be a half hour per day, or three shorter periods when you wake, at mid day, and before you go to bed. What effect do you think building such a time into your day might have on your relationship with Christ? What effect could it have on your own soul? Take some time today to pray about these things.

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The Pattern – 16

Do not repay one bad turn with another (1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9) When you are insulted is your reaction to give it back as good as you got it or do you bless those who insult you? When someone commits a wrong against you do you plot to make them pay or do you respond with kindness? If your pattern has been to repay them for the pain they have caused you what has this reaction produced in your relationships with others? What has it done to your own heart? Has it brought you freedom or has it caused you to be enslaved to bitterness? What would it cost you if you repaid evil with good? What would you gain? What blessing might result? What would it say about your trust in God? What does it say about your trust in God if you are unable to follow him in this? What would be your desire? What do you think God desires? Find a few quite moments and let the Holy Spirit speak to you about these things.

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The Pattern – 15

Do not make promises. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Matthew 5:33-37, James 5:12). Have you ever been entrapped by a promise you made? Have you ever made a promise that you could not keep? What effect did this have on your relationship with the person to whom you made the promise? How do you think this affected you relationship with God? In making a promise you are binding yourself to the outcome. How can this be damaging? Why do you think that it would be better to simply speak of what you can and can’t do, letting you “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no?” Would there be any need to make promises if you were known as a person who spoke truthfully all of the time? Would the people you know think of you as this type of person? Can they take you at your word? If not, what would need to change so they could? Explore these things with God.

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The Pattern – 14

Be Holy. For without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:15) Does your life demonstrate the values, mission and character of God in such a way that people get a glimpse of him when they see you? What areas of your life have not been set apart for God? How has sin been allowed to continue to rule parts of your life? Talk to God about these things. Thank him for areas which he has transformed. Admit your areas of weakness. Ask God for his help. Take a few moments and imagine what it would look like to live a life that demonstrated God’s holiness. How would you be different than you are now? How would it change the way you relate to others? What would you need to release to live this kind of life? Is this even your desire?

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The Pattern – 13

When possible with you, be at peace with everyone, and do not let the sun go down before you deal with your anger. (Hebrews 12:14, Ephesians 4:26 Matthew 5:23-24, 18:15) Are you someone who deals with conflict quickly or do you allow it to fester? Are there past relational hurts that you have held on to that have grown into bitterness? What would need to take place to let these go? When is the last time you needed to resolve an issue with someone and you dealt with it quickly? What effect did this have on the relationship? Would others say you are someone who makes peace or stirs up strife? What one thing could you do to open up the opportunity to be at peace with everyone? What would it feel like to live as a peace maker? Ask God to shape you into this kind of person.

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