Spiritual Formation

Spiritual formation seems to be popular today. The more I read and discuss with others I sense that in many ways it is departure from the truth of God's Word and leans heavily to a mystical form of Christianity, it has infiltrated, to some degree, nearly all evangelical denominations. This idea of spiritual formation is based on the premise that if we do certain practices, we can be more like Jesus. I think that proponents of spiritual formation erroneously teach that anyone can practice these mystical rituals and find God within themselves. Granted that we are all created or pro-created "Imago Dei" that is in the “image of God”.

It seems to me often adherents of the current "spiritual formation movement" believe the spiritual disciplines transform the seeker by his or her entering an altered realm of consciousness. The spiritual formation movement is characterized by such things as contemplative prayer, contemplative spirituality, and Christian mysticism.

From my study of the teaching of biblical spiritual formation, or spiritual transformation, begins with the understanding that we are sinners living apart from God. Our faculties have been corrupted by sin so that we cannot please God. True spiritual transformation occurs as we yield ourselves to God so that He may transform us by the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. At least half of every New Testament epistle is geared toward how to live a life well pleasing to God, by obedience and submission to the Holy Spirit in all things. scripture does not only call us the redeemed, saved, saints, sheep, soldiers, and servants, but teaches us that only through the power of the Spirit we can live up to what the names mean.

For instance the following passages in scripture address various aspects of spiritual formation, the work of God in the life of the believer.

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). Here is the aim of transformation: that we may be like Christ.

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is part of a passage that teaches that we are changed into the image of Christ not by following rules and laws, but by following the leading of the Spirit by faith.

"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:3-7).

Here, the Apostle Paul reminds us of our before-and-after life. We have responded to the "kindness and love of God" shown to us by the death of Christ for our sins, repented of our sins, and now respond to the Spirit’s continual prompting and empowerment to live differently as God's children. As a result, we have been transformed by the "rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" (v. 5). This, then, is true spiritual formation, the reforming of our spirits by His Spirit into the image of Christ.

I would like to hear your thoughts about this.

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1 Response May 19, 2012

You are saying much and I hope that I'm understanding what you have written here.
My take on this is is God takes no pleasure in seeing us lost, wandering, searching
He wants us to know His will!
He makes it clear and simple no multiple choices.
He has only given us two choices life and good or death and evil. Deut .30:15.
Obey His Word, "choose life 30:19, Because this is your life.
Deut 32: 46, 47. God's will for us is life.
His Word is life and Jesus is the Word.
He does not give prescription for every decision we make, but left us a perfect example to follow, Jesus.
Follow this prescription and let the Lord do the rest.
He will grant us the wisdom to make the right choices.
Your thoughts sound all too complicated for me, I'm going to just do the best I can, repent and leave the rest to my Savior.
I asked Him to come into my heart and He is there changing me one day at a time.
I am reborn, done, saved and I am changing day by day, but I myself can't do nothing.
Repent, obey and I see you on the other side without all this spiritualism. We are flesh and sinners until our last breath.
As far as faith goes it is given to us, Hope is given to us an belief is also given to us.
The main part for us in this is choice and leave the changing our spirit to Him and He has been doing this from the moment we accepted His Son.
Changing us is a long road and everyone of us is perfectly different and everyone of is changed by the Spirit in His own time and way.
Reborn one time and forever changing,Cheers