A Heart for God
It sounds cool, like something you’d want. But what exactly is spiritual formation? The Apostle Paul puts it this way: “until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ…we are to grow up every way into Him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:13, 15). The theological word for spiritual formation is sanctification. It is the lifelong process of God’s work in us through His Spirit that makes us mature in Christ. It is cool! But how does it happen?
We believe spiritual formation is a fluid process with a divinely intended purpose that happens most effectively in community with one another. Thus it has four parts: it is primarily spiritual, it is a process, it is purposeful, and it happens within the context of community.
Spiritual Formation is Spiritual.
Spiritual formation is first and foremost, well, spiritual. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). It’s the fruit of God’s Spirit, not the fruit of our own striving. God is the one who produces these wonderful characteristics in us as we trust and rest in Him. The more we know Him, the more we trust Him to produce this mature character in us.
Spiritual Formation is a process.
But we don’t learn to trust someone overnight. Spiritual formation is a lifelong process. We don’t grow up all in one day… or two days, or a week, or a year. Maturity in Christ happens over the course of our entire lives as we experience God’s goodness to us in all the varying circumstances of life. However, there are always milestones along the way where we see growth spurts.
Spiritual Formation is purposeful.
God’s plan for shaping and forming us to maturity in Christ is very purposeful. Because He loves us so much, He is not content to leave us as we are when we first come to Him. Instead, He is purposeful to grow us into the gifts He has given us so that we can best serve His Body, the Church. At Lebanon church, we want to help you figure out what those gifts are and how they can best be used to serve our Lord.
Spiritual formation happens in community.
Spiritual formation does not happen in isolation. We were not created to be independent of one another. We were created for relationships, for living in community. Spiritual formation happens as we sharpen and encourage one another to know the Lord.