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Life Together, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was an extremely helpful and edifying book. I have learned quite a lot through my first read. I plan on reading it over and over again and applying the truths in the book to my life. The sections on Listening, Worship music, Meditation, Prayer, and Early rising were especially helpful. On Page 78 there were two quotes which I found very helpful in regards to silence and solitude. First, Bonhoeffer states, "Only in the fellowship do we learn to be rightly alone and only in aloneness do we learn to live rightly in fellowship." Second, he states "The mark of solitude is silence, as speech is the mark of community. Silence and speech have he same inner correspondence and difference as do solitude and community. One does not exist without the other. Right speech comes out of silence, and right silence comes out of speech." These passages meant something to me because I have had problems being alone in the past due to a need to be around and accepted by other people. I had a wrong view of solitude as something beneficial to growing in the Lord. I had an unhealthy need to be doing something in community to a point where my own personal spiritual life would suffer because I wasn't resting enough and resting my own soul. There have also been two Bible verses that have helped me a lot. Genesis 2:2-3 says "By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made " and Matthew 11:28 says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. The idea that sleep can be service to the Lord is very beneficial to me as I can sleep knowing that it is God's will and not sloth. This gave me a correct view of napping as well, that it wasn't a lazy habit. I now desire alone time where I can read quietly and rejuvenate. Secondly, a part of Life Together that really helped me was about Christian music and worship. Bonhoeffer, on page 59, states, "The reason is, quite simply, because in singing
together it is possible for them to speak and pray the same Word at the same time; in other words, because here they can unite in the Word. All devotion, all attention should be concentrated upon the Word in the hymn. The fact that we do not speak it but sing it only expresses the fact that our spoken words are inadequate to express what we want to say, that the burden of our song goes far beyond all human words. Yet we do not hum a melody; we sing words of praise to God, words of thanksgiving, confession, and prayer. Thus the music is completely the servant of the Word. It elucidates the Word in its mystery." This passage has helped me tremendously because I view worship entirely different now that I have adopted a correct Godly mindset of music. I view singing for God one of the highest ways to worship, the best way I could possibly spend my time for my soul and heart. I see singing as active prayer. I've adopted the suggestion from Life Together to listen to worship music in the early morning and allow it to affect my heart the entire day. I also always try to have devotional lyrics running in my ad at a single time. The musicians that have helped me most with this are Hillsong United and Chris Tomlin. Worship is about expression for God, and singing is an form of expression. I've noticed that my view of singing has changed because I am able to sing less self-consciously at worship ceremonies because I have a correct understanding of the importance of singing to God. I'm able to put myself aside and be passionate in the moment. I am not a good singer by any means, but I really put myself into singing worship. Thirdly, there was a part in Life Together that helped me tremendously in regards to how to stop criticizing others how to how be less judgemental. On page 98, Bonhoffer states, "Often we combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them to be expressed in words. It is certain that the spirit of self-justification can be overcome only by the Spirit of grace nevertheless, isolated thoughts of judgment can be curbed and smothered by never allowing them the right to be uttered, except as a confession of sin, which we shall discuss later. He who holds his tongue in check controls both mind and body.” This passage
has helped me tremendously because I have suffered with a sin of folly and speaking useless words. There are moments in conversations where I regret saying something. This happens more often than I can count. My tongue is rampant, and the sin in my heart wants to say things to get reactions from people. It is good to know that by the grace of God I can hold back my tongue and, as the scripture says, be wise. For in proverbs it says even fools who hold their tongues seem wise for a moment. I notice that I have select words when I spend my time in the Word of God. I am less prone to spitting out nonsense or being a fool. This passage has helped me with discernment on whether or not holding my tongue is a good thing to do. Now I know that, when in doubt, it's best to hold my tongue. There is also a section in Life Together about listening. Bonhoeffer states that there are multiple kinds of listening. On page 97, Bonhoeffer states, "Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking." I have noticed in myself that I am quick to think that my guidance is beneficial to others and instead Ill listen without being fully attentive, instead thinking of what I am going to say next. "Many people are looking for an ear that will listen", Boenhoffer also states. "One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point and be never really speaking to others, albeit he be not conscious of it." This has proven true in my life. I have noticed recently that I have had relationships where I am not even speaking to people, because I am not able to listen, I am speaking whatever comes to my mind freely, without a regard to them. This isn't effective communication, and especially not Godly communication. It desires the self and self-expression over the other person. It is a sin and a crafty one especially. Only recently through the brutal honesty and care of my friends have they brought up to me this part about myself. With the grace of God and with their help I am
able to move through and repent of this sin. These last two quotes have been extremely helpful and will continue to be helpful in my walk with God. In conclusion, Life Together has been an excellent supplemental source to the Scriptures for growth in God. I feel my walk with Christ will be greatly affected by this book in the future with applying it's words. There are a lot of gems in the book to be found, and I need a careful re-read to gain the true worth of this book.