I’ve been a model spiritual discipline practitioner. No, really. One of those crazy women who get up at zero dark thirty to study and memorize and journal. In fact, if there was such a thing, I probably could have been a professional. Just sayin’.
That is, until the day I couldn’t even muster the energy to lift up my Bible, much less read it. That’s a whole ‘nother story.
My point is a subtle danger lurks behind thinking it is our own efforts and our commitment to spiritual disciplines which primarily define and shape our spiritual formation.
Spiritual practices are undoubtedly important but simply because they are pathways. The pathways themselves are not the source of our transformation. They just get us to a place to behold Him, to experience God’s goodness and beauty. These exercises of the soul create space and expand our capacity for being with God. But spiritual formation itself is the work of God.
Which is really good news in a season when fruitfulness in our disciplines has withered. When we walk through brokenness, difficult relationships, messy situations, or weighty grief that crush our strength to pursue God.
Thank God, He pursues us.
In seasons of refining and pruning, our spiritual formation is far from dormant. Though it may seem growth is stagnant, we can absolutely trust God is actively at work in us. In fact, sometimes when it seems like He is most uninterested in working through us, He is bent on working in us.
If spiritual formation is about shaping us to look and act and think more like Jesus, wilderness times may be when we are most “formed”.
If spiritual formation is about deepening and enriching our love and knowledge of God, then it is here that what we have studied and memorized and meditated upon becomes substantial and transformational.
What we know in our head becomes deeply formed in our spirit. We echo Job, “I’d heard of You, but now I see You with my own eyes.”
We can read God is our Provider, even memorize passages that tell us so. But it is when we have a lack we cannot fix ourselves that we really know Him as Provider.
How will we know Him as Protector if we’re never in danger? As Counselor if we’re never confused? As the God of all Comfort if we’ve never been swallowed up by sorrow?
In the dark is the time to hike down those familiar pathways to the feet of Jesus and remind yourself of what you know is true.
A weighty praise is birthed in you in the valley. A hope infused in you. A confidence in your God that comes only by walking through brokenness with Him. Hard won truths are so deeply formed in you they become a part of you.
Your worship is richer. Your praise is deeper. Your song is sweeter. How does this happen? God weaves an aspect of His character and beauty into your being in the wilderness.
Spiritual formation is not about making you a better person. It’s about bringing you to a place of knowing and loving Jesus more fully than you did yesterday.
We become like Him not by striving but by gazing. By dismissing all other distractions and affections so we can be with our Beloved.
Ultimately, spiritual formation is all about being connected to the Vine, experiencing His life as we live in Him and He lives in us.
What does spiritual formation look like for you?
We want to hear how you stay connected to the Vine.
Come share with us on the prompt, “Spiritual Formation”. Here’s how:
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