Appearances Can be Deceiving But Spiritual Formation is RealityMay 13, 2019
By all appearances, I should have known something about Christian spiritual formation. From birth to 35 years of age, my spiritual pedigree included the grace of having had two Christian parents, weekly church attendance and participation, conversion and baptism at eight years of age, a bachelor degree from a conservative Christian college, bi-vocational experience in the ministry, and ordination in the ministry both as a deacon and minister.
But appearances can be deceiving.
Besides my spiritual pedigree, I added spiritual exercises including prayer and Bible study. Still, I remained unchanged.
Despite sincerity and good intentions, I knew nothing of Christian spiritual formation. To put it more succinctly, I knew nothing of how to be more like Christ.
Spiritual Formation Is Reality
Some time ago, I discovered that spiritual formation is a reality. Every person is an eternal spirit being formed into what he or she will be forever. This ongoing process can be intentional or unintentional; it cannot be stopped, only directed.
Deep within our hearts or spirits, we possess our core sense of self. Our identity may be solid or sketchy, but it’s the true nature of things – and it’s being shaped and formed moment by moment, one decision after another, over a lifetime.
Like the wind, our spirits are invisible, but we can glimpse their effects when we stop to consider where our inclinations, affections, and desires blow us.
When spiritual formation becomes centered on Christ rather than anything else, we find that God the Father grounds us in Christ and the Spirit helps us to navigate life in the direction of the Father‘s will.