Spiritual Formation is a topic of conversation most haven’t heard of before. If they have heard of it, there is often times a weird stigma attached to it. Let’s consider for a moment, however, that we are all being formed in some way by something. We can let the world around us form us or we can let God form us.
Hear me out! I said God form us, NOT religion or our church or anyone else, no matter how spiritual they are. When we let people shape instead of letting God shape us, it gets weird and people get hurt. So what if we let the one who created us form us in His image?
- What if people who claimed to be Christians started actually looking like Christ?
- What if those people had grace for people around them instead of judgement?
- What if we had hope instead of doom and gloom?
- What if our transformation with God changed the work places and schools and cities and states around us?
So if spiritual transformation has the hope to accomplish all of that what is it and how do we do it?!
Spiritual formation is about letting God transform our spiritual inner beings. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” We as humans spend a lot of time obsessing over our physical bodies and making sure they are in shape and beating ourselves up when they are not. We spend years in school to make sure our mind is bright and that have the knowledge to survive the life we’re living. But how many of us take a significant amount of energy and focus on the inner self?
What I find fascinating is that more and more, science is proving that what we think and believe affects all the rest. What we think about our body or circumstances or other parts of ourselves has a great impact on how we respond to each of them. Science and the Bible are lining up now more than ever. Not religion or judgmental Christianity, but God and His words, breathed out for our benefit, are being proved time and time again as our science capabilities become more sophisticated.
In Romans 12, Paul urges us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds but how many of us have actually been taught what that means or how to do it? Let’s take a look at a couple of examples. If you perpetually view yourself as the fat kid in elementary school, no matter how fit you get, you will always have that belief in the back of your mind, ready to sabotage you. If you believe that you are stupid because of an experience you had in the 4th grade, you won’t believe you can learn more and will thus never try to. In order to be transformed in these areas, we have to renew the way we think about these areas. We have to adopt God’s thoughts to then see the physical results and be transformed.
So what does all this mean?
It means that we have the capacity to change the way we think and feel and believe, having it line up with what God thinks and feels and believes. By doing so, we change our world and the world around us. We can let the world change these aspects of us or we can let God do that. We can let the world tell us the standard for love or we can adopt God’s perfect standard. We can adopt the world’s standard of beauty or we can listen to the God who created us in His image tell us His standard of beauty. And on and on and on.
So at this point you may be wondering, “Well that all sounds fine but how the heck do we do that?”
I’m glad you asked!
We will be doing a series of blogs for the next month or so on the various means for spiritual formation. Suffice it to say, while there are some practices that take a lot of time and mental capacity, there are also many that require a little. You can jump in where ever you are.
My goal is to help you identify where to start the process and how to grow in it eventually leading you to the place where you and God are figuring it out. He is after all the best Teacher there is!
What do you think? What are you hoping to learn in the next few blog posts? What questions does this spur in you?