We are all spiritual beings. We have physical bodies, but our lives are largely driven by an unseen part of us. There is an immaterial center in us that shapes the way we see the world and ourselves, directs the choices we make, and guides our actions. Our spirit is the most important part of who we are. And yet we rarely spend time developing our inner life. That’s what Spiritual Formation is all about.
Spiritual Formation is a process, but it is also a journey through which we open our hearts to a deeper connection with God. We are not bystanders in our spiritual lives, we are active participants with God, who is ever inviting us into relationship with him.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). We at Renovaré believe that such abundant life is possible here and now because Jesus showed us the way to it. As we take on the life of Jesus – become like him – we experience a richness in life and faith that is truly renewed day by day (Col. 3:10).
Closeness with God brings us true freedom and fullness (Jn. 8:36, Col. 2:9-10). Yet many people – Christians included – find their lives fall short of the kind Jesus promised and proclaimed. If God is present with us, why is there so little joy, power, energy, and peace in our lives?
We keep trying: to find happiness, to experience God, to fill the emptiness. And that’s the problem. Trying just tires us out, distracts us from what’s important, and discourages us when we fail.
We are eternal beings, but have lost sight of eternal living. We spend time, energy, and money on our physical needs, but neglect our souls. Our misplaced efforts leave us feeling powerless and detached from God.
That’s not how God intended it to be. We are meant to be in relationship with God and others in a way that is dynamic, whole, and fresh every day (John 17:24, 2 Cor 4:16) – relationship that extends beyond church services into every facet of our lives.
Spiritual Formation helps us reclaim our relationship with God as it was meant to be. It’s not trying – it’s training in eternal living, determined discipleship to Jesus Christ, and the way we discover the renewable source of spiritual energy we’ve been looking for (2 Cor 4:16).
“Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand” (Matt 3:2, 4:17, 10:7). This is a call for us to reconsider how we have been approaching our life, in light of the fact that we now, in the presence of Jesus, have the option of living within the surrounding movements of God’s eternal purposes, of taking our life into his life.
The Bible has a lot to say about Spiritual Formation. Below are just a few passages that encourage us in spiritual renewal. If you’re interested in learning more, Renovaré’s Life with God Bible provides a comprehensive perspective on Spiritual Formation throughout scripture, including an index of passages that highlight 18 different spiritual disciplines found in the Bible.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life … Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.
… train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better. It doesn’t matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Next: The Six Streams