In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us, With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment--to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. Ephesians 1:7-10
Spiritual formation is the process of Christ conforming us into His image with the ultimate goal of perfect unity with Him. At conversion a new believer is an infant in the faith; totally needy and totally dependent. They grow from the milk of God’s word to ingesting and digesting the meat of Holy Scripture. Salvation to service is a common step in spiritual formation, but there is much more. Beyond doing for the Lord is being who we are in Christ. To be is to know Him.
So we grow past adding on the next volunteer opportunity and take the time to get quiet before our Heavenly Father. The spiritual disciplines of prayer, meditation and contemplation become a regular part of our routine as we wrestle with God’s will. We learn to love the Lord, others and ourselves in an unselfish way. We grow to know Jesus as a friend and a lover. Humility and grace begin to govern our every thought and action as we become more like Christ. Maturity grows up.
But when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:10-12
Furthermore, there are days of darkness on our spiritual formation path leading to oneness with our groom, Jesus Christ. As in marriage, what is sometimes painful can be the most productive. What feels bad to the body and emotions can be good for the soul. Communication with Christ in prayer may seem suspended, but this season of silent suffering is meant to strip away all our attachments. Our lover Jesus is jealous for 100% of our affection. Spouses grow old together, looking increasingly like each other in appearance. Thus, by grace, we grow to look like Jesus.
It is comfortable to cease growing spiritually and settle into a service mindset. However, your Father desires for you to do like Martha and to be like Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Progression in your spiritual formation requires both works and faith. It is a matter of emphasis and motivation. You are a branch in God’s garden who produces fruit because of the Gardner, the Vine and the Rain. The Father, the Son and the Spirit. You remain in Christ and the Trinity spiritually forms you into a fruit bearer. So, stay engaged in the growth process with God; you become better!
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Prayer: Heavenly Father, use the process of spiritual formation to make me more like Jesus.
Related Readings: Jeremiah 29:11-14; Matthew 5:6, 48, 7:13-14; Romans 7:15-16; Philippians 3:14
Post/Tweet today: Beyond doing for the Lord is being who we are in Christ. To be is to know Him. #beinginChrist
© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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