Wednesday, November 08, 2006
"Spiritual Formation"
While looking for some information to discuss our surrender to Christ, I came across an article by Dallas Willard entitled Spiritual Formation in Christ: A Perspective on What it is and How it Might be Done. Below is an excerpt from the article:

"Christian spiritual formation understood in this way is automatically ecumenical and inclusive in the sense that those thus formed, those who live in obedience to Christ, are thereby united and stand out as the same in their obedience. The substance of obedience is the only thing that can overcome the divisions imposed by encrusted differences in doctrine, ritual, and heritage. The lamp that is aglow in the obedient life will shine. The city set on the hill cannot be hid. Obedience to Christ from the heart and by the spirit is such a radical reality that those who live in it automatically realize the unity that can never be achieved by direct efforts at union. It is not by effort, but by who we are: "I am a companion of all those who fear Thee" (Ps. 119:63,74)."


Since I was originally searching for some comments about obedience, I skimmed the article and, just a scripture can, at times, be taken out of context, so was this quote. As I read it, I was thinking, "This is cool! It talks about the ecumenism that I so feverishly talk about to everyone I meet." When I read the full article, I realized that, it was a philosophers view of faith and "spiritual formation." I ended up really liking the article for a couple of reasons different than what I had intended (see God does answer our prayers, just it is sometimes in a way that we may not like, but need.):

1.) It challenged me to dig deeper into scripture for a complete understanding of what it will ultimately mean for me to live out a Christian lifestyle.

2.) It challenges all Christians to really live the conversion to Christ in our hearts, allowing ourselves to be changed from within, and the fruits of these battles to be visible without, not the other way around.

3.) Even though I know the Truth of Jesus Christ, many people out there feel they can achieve the same "spiritual formation" from other religions.

4.) In dealing with faith, things can be "too Catholic." I do not believe that....well, I believe that somewhat to be true, but I do not always think that is a bad thing.

In words I shared with Jason a while back, "This article can get a little 'heady'," but that is the best part of it.

Prayer

Father God, allow me, through my "disciplines" and studies, come to know you in a more intimate setting. Guide me down a path that leads to eternal life while allowing me to make those much needed mistakes along the way. After reading this article, I can see there is so much more and will never be too much for me to learn about Your mysteries or Your love for us. Help us to become a unified church again, focusing on the real "dealbreakers" and not the superfluous rites, rituals, and laws. I ask this in your loving name, Jesus. Amen.




 
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