Vicious or Gracious Cycles

Over the last few months I have become increasingly aware of the power of a vicious cycle. I feel a bit depressed so I eat comfort food which causes me to fit more tightly in my pants which causes me depression and the cycle continues. I like to think of it continuing with Newtonian precision. Newton said that a body in motion (this cycle) will stay in a state of constant motion unless exerted on by an unbalanced external force! Until my will is of greater force than the cycle, Newton tells me, the pattern will continue.

I think we all battle, to varying degrees with the power of vicious cycles in our lives. This thought caused me to think that there are likely some ‘gracious cycles’ which might exert power for good in my life. I am on a quest to find these and unleash their power in my life. In this brief journey I have come up with two.

The first I found in Colossians 1:9 -11. Paul prays asking God to fill us with knowledge and understanding, which leads to us living a worthy life, which leads to us pleasing God, which leads to bearing fruit, which leads to growing in knowledge of God. This is a gracious cycle! I want to get caught up in the force of its power to transform my life.

The second came to be through reflection on the Christmas season. I believe the cycle is that submission to God leads to power from God, which leads to Glory to God. The Godhead is a community of mutual submission most vividly played out in the Incarnation. In Philippians we read of Jesus’ submission to God whereby God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name above every name to the glory of God the Father. In Jesus’ birth announcement the angels talk of the lowly arrival of the Christ and finish with a crescendo of glory to God. If I could begin to realise the untapped potential of submission to God His power can be unleashed in my life and He, certainly not me, would be glorified. This is a cycle which once firmly established has all the potential Newton could ever imagine.

 Christmas, then, is less like the sentimental story we have come to love and more like the first splitting of the atom loosing a power beyond all we could ask or imagine; the power of a truly submitted life.


6 comments on “Vicious or Gracious Cycles

  1. Yes for sure, and didn’t Mary exemplify that submission…So, may you have a Mary Christmas and a gracious new year cycle….


  2. The second “gracious cycle” you expound is the very spiritual principle that the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous recognized as the key to recovery from alcoholism, and subsequently addiction in all of its forms. It is the foundation of Steps 1, 2 and 3. Only when we: recognize our powerless and admit our weakness; come to believe that it is only the power of God that can save us and heal us; and surrender our wills and lives to Him, that we have the ability to overcome and then in turn, God is given glory.

  3. as usual Reed – right to the point. I’ve been thinking you would do a service to all preachers if you would collect these blogs together in one format so that we could expand on them for our Sunday services.

  4. Wow another arrow to the heart,Reed! This challenges to discover more of God’s “Gracious Cycles” that by submission to Him, can carry us forward.

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