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.