MY SPIRITUAL FORMATION DEFINITION
I cannot put a date on it, but somewhere in the early days of my Jesus-following life I wondered at how the Holy Spirit was forming me to look more and more like Jesus. How was that possible? That one question took me on a long and delightful journey.
What I am about to say conjures up some well-worn analogies of exaggeration. Spiritual formation definitions and the crafting thereof can be like trying to open a fire hydrant to get a drink of water on a humid August day, like trying to fire a grenade launcher in order to swat a gnat, like trying to hold the oceans in a mason jar, or like trying to use a backhoe to remove an eyelash.
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT TAKES THE INITIATIVE
I’ve spent a large portion of my adult life trying to understand the nature and work of the Holy Spirit. I’m sure I am still a work in progress. When forced into a biblical-theological corner and asked to explain how God the Spirit works, I often find myself pointing to at least ten (10) hearty verbs or promises that are attached to the Holy Spirit’s transforming initiative.
THROUGH VARIOUS MEANS
I like the thought of God trucking around a larger than life tool box. The Spirit really is like Mac Tools or Snap-On Tools on wheels. He is a portable Divine mechanic. He always brings His own tools to do the work that needs to be done.
IN COOPERATION WITH OUR RESPONSE
Spiritual formation requires our participation and partnership. I know for many of us that is a given, but often this long obedience in the same direction can become a sleep-walking experience.
CHANGES US TO LOOK LIKE JESUS
Our spiritual formation aim is nothing short of looking like Jesus Christ. This is the perfect spot for reviewing what I have already shared about God’s grand purpose.
IN ORDER TO SERVE OTHERS
I readily recognized I needed a practical guide, someone seasoned and wise, a Yoda in the school of ministry. I needed someone grounded theologically and biblically. I needed someone further along than I was. I needed someone who could speak direct, but gracious truth into my life. I found the person, or perhaps better said, God found him for me. I met Chuck Swindoll.
TO THE GLORY OF GOD
My spiritual formation definition begins and ends with the Triune God. I am preoccupied with His glory. I suppose that is why I so deeply resonate with John Piper and his foundational thesis: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” I want to live as a walking hallelujah. I want my life’s focus to be upon Him.