Well–Rounded Spiritual Life
Like you, I have pursued spiritual growth with my fair share of peaks, valleys, and plateaus. Life can throw curve balls that may stifle or stimulate soul health. I confess that I have tried a number of “the latest” spiritual growth resources with some level of success or frustration and I have concluded that this is our personal and sacred responsibility.
What stimulates spiritual growth for one may not have the same effect for another. Certainly, the Lord is always speaking and it is the Holy Spirit who communes with our spirits to bring about change, but we have an important part to play in positioning ourselves to hear His Voice.
A favorite definition of spiritual formation for me is, “The process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others” (Invitation to a Journey by Robert Mulholland). This definition succinctly describes the entire spiritual life: spiritual growth is a lifetime journey, it takes submission to Christ and His way of living, and is ultimately for the salvation and spiritual health of others.
How might this play out practically in our day–to–day lives? Each of the following four categories describe an aspect of our public and private lives. The categories are in broad strokes for you to consider. They are not in detail, as it is up to you—hungry soul—to define what each aspect looks like for you.
“The story of Christianity didn’t take shape behind pulpits or on altars or in books. No, the story of Christianity takes place around tables, as people face one another as equals, telling stories, sharing memories, enjoying food with one another.”
—Tablet to Table by Leonard Sweet
If we are not careful, the dinner table could become extinct in our overloaded American lifestyle. The table represents the quality time spent with the significant people in our life—family, spouses, roommates. This represents the “ministry of presence” with people closest to us.
What do you do regularly, when it is just you and God? Time to:
• Be in The Word
• Listen—hear from God
• Process—what He is saying to you
• Talk to Him about what is on your mind
• Rest in what you hear
The important element in this step is understanding how you best connect with God and experience the presence of Christ. This is pivotal to your spiritual growth and your ministry to others. This is not a “one size fits all” kind of thing.
The benefits of small group ministry are well documented. These are people with whom you are willing to be transparent. They are a handful of Christian friends who meet together and ask the hard questions, deepen friendships, discover spiritual life together or hold one another accountable.
Often we come into corporate worship feeling a sense of spiritual fog. During a tough week, the hard knocks of real life in the fallen world can disorient us to what’s truly important. We need to clear our head, recalibrate our spirit, and jumpstart our slow heart.
“…in the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through.”
We are made for community. It is in the family of God especially, that we are challenged and, with the Holy Spirit working in us, deepen our ability to remain in and contribute to community. Let’s face it, life is messy and can be in the Church too. The family of God helps us learn to live life as saved and sanctified souls, even though we’re still in the flesh.