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Spiritual Formation & Resources

Frustration is a common experience among Christians longing for spiritual fulfillment, transformation and maturity.  What is the road to becoming truly spiritual and godly?  Are we praying often enough?  Are we praying in the right way and for the right things?  Are we reading and studying the Bible enough and in the right way?  Are we reading the right books?  What about fasting and meditation?  What should we be doing?  Are we doing enough? How do we become spiritual?  How do we become truly mature spiritually?

Fortunately, here is no process for becoming spiritual.  God graciously gives us everything we need for life and godliness.  In our spiritual journey we rely on Jesus Christ from the beginning to the very end.  Everything comes from God.  Christian spirituality is simply following Jesus and receiving from Him.  Spiritual formation is not a process of self-development.  God does the forming.  Our spiritual life is something graciously given to us by God.

So, why write about or spend any time focusing on spiritual formation?

We are called to pursue the Lord and to be receptive to what He has given us.  As we practice spiritual disciplines we take in and receive Godís nourishing Word that feeds our soul.  Jesus teaches us to pray and He intercedes for us.  We receive what we need from Him as we read, pray, meditate and fast.  God gives us His Spirit.  He gives us gifts.  In each encounter in spiritual battle God guides us with His Word and His Holy Spirit.  We depend on Him and He empowers us.  We need to be spiritually awake and ready for battle.  Even suffering, temptation and failure form us into the image of Jesus Christ as we learn to cling to Him and depend on Him.

What is Spiritual Formation?  Spiritual formation is the process by which believers become more fully conformed and united to Jesus Christ.  It is the intentional development and nurturing of our relationship with God.  It is being transformed by the Spirit of Christ.  It is the shaping of a believer's inner character and outward actions into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

It does not take being in Christian ministry very long to realize that simply having a daily "quiet time" will not create the transformation and depth needed to sustain a person who is ministering spiritually for the long hull; especially those who minister in hard situations.  Spiritual maturity and growth is not instantaneous.  The process of transformation is more involved and is a long-term process.  There is no short cut to spiritual formation and transformation.  Our spiritual life is cultivated.

Some approaches and aspects of spiritual formation include following:  Cultivating the spiritual disciplines (i.e.: prayer, study, fasting, meditation, confession, worship, journaling, etc...); developing a Biblical value system; cultivating a growing love for and intimacy with God (devotional life); understanding who we are in Jesus Christ (our identity); developing a love for others; walking in the power of the Holy Spirit; being prepared and equipped for spiritual battle; being involved in a community of believers; and being involved in ministry (evangelism, discipleship, service).  (Note:  This is not intended to be an exhaustive list.)

Is your relationship with Jesus Christ shallow or deep?  Is your spiritual life healthy and growing?  God desires to transform us from the inside out and bring our thoughts, attitudes, actions, habits and character into conformity to His image.  

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Written by Bob Krepps  © 2003 all rights reserved.  Permission granted to copy for personal & non-commercial purposes only.  The information listed here is intended as a resource to enhance your spiritual life; the listing of a book or a  resource is not intended to be an endorsement of  all of it's contents or an endorsement of the theological position of the author(s).

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