Lent 2024 | Day 20

By Janet Nygren
Day 20 (Thursday, Mar 7)

As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly, to re-center my scattered senses upon the presence of God.1

Pause and pray.

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. (Ephesians 4:17-18)

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:22-24)

Therefore…do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

(Eph 4:29)

Think about it.

As the apostle Paul points out to the Ephesians, when we insist on our own way (hardening our hearts), it unleashes a chain of events. We head out on our own path, independent from God’s. That’s what we see when sin first takes hold of us in the Garden of Eden. Independence from God leads to separation from him, not only relationally, but in the way we think. Disconnected from God’s wisdom, Paul tells us, our thinking becomes futile, ignorant. We cling to our own interests, tearing down others who get in our way. Paul insists on something different–a J-Curve. Put off your old self and put on a new self, one that is more like Jesus.


It’s much easier to “put off” something when you’ve got something better to replace it with. I won’t throw away my old, leaky hiking boots until I’ve got a new pair that is comfortable. As we think about the destructive effects of stubbornly speaking our minds, Paul points us to something better–words that are helpful for building up others. Can you “put on” some words today that will benefit another?

Pause and pray.

Jesus, help me trust you.

“There are two kinds of people, those people who 'build you up' (balcony people) and those who 'tear you down' (basement people).” (Joyce Landorf Heatherley) Who will you be?

1. Prayer used daily in Lectio365 found at https://www.24-7prayer.com/resource/lectio-365/

1 Comment

Nick Tebordo - March 7th, 2024 at 6:10am

I want a heart of flesh-not a heart of stone! Holy Spirit, please guide my path today as I seek first the Kingdom of God. I am planning on meeting Anthony at Church at 9 AM and taking him to see Job Corps. Always praying!




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