Recognizing The Default Setting

By pastorbillwalden

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: 2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; 3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; 7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; 8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

We all have natural tendencies and a certain kind of disposition that makes us who we are.  When we come to Christ, those tendencies don’t automatically disappear, nor would we want some of them to disappear.  A lot of our natural tendencies are very useful as we dedicate them to God.

But as the writer of Ecclesiastes tells, us, there is a time in life for an opposite response from what our natural tendencies might lead us to do.

Some of our default settings need to be overruled.  We shouldn’t always respond to every situation the same way.  Jesus didn’t respond to everyone the same way, but responded according to the need of the moment, as He was led by the Holy Spirit.

Here is an example of the problem a default setting can create: Your best friend is late all the time, and you keep overlooking it.  You try to be gracious, but your friend’s chronic lateness has caused you to miss dinner reservations, appointments, and other important events.  You silently and prayerfully try to overlook this problem, until one day you explode and lose control, and say and do things you are very sorry for.

Your default setting is to not speak up, and to be patient and forgiving, which is a wonderful response most of the time.  But somehow, your default setting keeps you from speaking up when you should, and your lack of confrontation creates bitterness, and then you explode.  The problem might have been solved with repeated, calm, but firm exhortations to your friend to be on time, but maybe your default setting is to not deal with problematic issues, hoping that they will somehow change on their own. You gave in to your flesh and kept quiet to avoid confrontation, instead of being moved by the Holy Spirit to do something you aren’t comfortable doing.

In this hypothetical situation, your patient and forgiving attitude, which is the natural you, was allowed to go too far, and kept you from following the leading of the Spirit, and speaking up sooner.

There are many other situations where our natural tendencies, our default settings, need to be overruled through the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

How then, do we recognize those default settings that God wants to change?

1.  Is there a scenario that keeps repeating itself in your life that causes pain and sorrow?  Try to step away from the emotional impact of it, and analyze it.  Of course, this is all done along with prayer and considerations of what the Bible says about the situation you are in.

2.  Are your friends and family constantly encouraging and challenging  you about some tendency you have that needs to change?  It isn’t that that tendency is bad, it is just that your natural inclination isn’t always appropriate.  An opposite response from your default setting needs to happen on occasion.

3.  Listen to both your friends and your enemies.  When they criticize or rebuke you, you ought to listen.  Your enemies have nothing to lose, and your friends have much to lose.  Listen to what people say to you about you, and then think on it, pray on it, ask a valued friend if this evaluation of you is true.  Ask God, and then seek God for change if change is needed.

We know that God seeks to conform us to the image of His Son.  (Romans 8:29). Jesus didn’t treat every situation the same way, but he always responded the right way, according to the need of the moment.  Jesus wasn’t stuck on a default setting, but was full of the Holy Spirit, and never didn’t do things right.

Blessings as you grow (and change) in Christ…

7 Responses so far

Hi Bill,

Wow, I needed that. Thanks. I saw your status post on facebook so I checked out the blog. It’s amazing that you addressed what I am going through (need for change from default setting) and just yesterday in my devotions I was in Ecclesiastes 3. Thanks for being faithful and sensitive to the Holy Spirit.


Hey Matt…

These articles are an outpouring from personal growth and self discovery…more accurately….God revealing areas of my own life that need change.

I am blessed to see ways that I can grow as a man, husband, dad, friend, pastor.

Thanks for dropping by the blog Matt.


This was very powerful to me. Especially the part about listening to criticism. There is hardly anything as constant as change.
thank you…

Wow my pastor!
God is using your words again. Ive had a couple of real tought days at work and I have been turning to the word and also listening to was people have said to me even it they are not christens. You have given me confirmation.
Thank You Jesus

and thanks my pastor
Gwenny your pest

Hi Counsin Bill…..just tonight I was sitting waiting for a very long time Jr High School friend…after 40 min of her being late…I just drove away…!!! I called and left her a msg that I just can’t deal with her tardiness which has gone on for 42 yrs!!! I wanted both of us to take away something from this lesson…that I need to have more patience…and her more consideration.. am forwarding her this blog for her to read this subject…just the timing of this article was unreal!! God is good!!!

Had a wonderful visit with your Mom and Dad…My Dad was just so happy to see his older sister…LOL they sat quietly and chatted to their hearts content…was a very special moment to see the last two siblings treasuring their time..talking about the good old days…their parents..family…and how they love their lives…was so very special and emotional….I love them dearly…!!! Dad is well after his episode last week during surgery…possibly your Mom has filled you in…ok..hope to talk to you soon…great blog…I love reading it!! Passed it on family memebers too!! Love you..hug to Debbie….Rozanne

Hi Pastor Bill;
Your picture of the chrysalis reminds me of the important process of transformation or metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly – and the difficult struggle it has within the cocoon that’s necessary for building up it’s strength – that it may live – once it’s fully developed – and be ready to fly. . .

this link is a poem about this same thing:

It is a struggle to deny ourself and to surrender our will to the Holy Spirit – you’re so right, recognizing our own ‘default settings’ can be difficult – and sometimes painful when others point them out, especially in unloving ways . . . . but when we receive whatever comes out way by the grace of God’s loving hand, submitting it to Him and asking Him to help us see through His eyes, according to His will, He will take the painful experiences we’ve had when someone has confronted us according to their perspective of where we’re coming from and use to conform us to be more like Jesus.

I’ve learned that when people see a fault in someone else that offends them, they need to pray for that person and find out more about what’s going on in their life – to see why they’re doing what they’re doing . . . and through love and prayer, be able to come along side them through the power of the Holy Spirit to help them grow in the area where they’re failing.


James, Gwenny, Roze,

Thanks all for the visit, and for your comments.
Love and blessings on you all.

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