Some Fundamentals of Spiritual Formation
Spiritual formation is participating with Jesus in his training program to move us from a me-focused life to a God-focused life. Here are some basic concepts to get you started.
- Be authentic with God. God is not looking for Sunday school answers. He is looking for what is true for us. If we put on a good face we are fooling no one, particularly God. But as we allow honest thoughts and feelings to be expressed intimacy with God is built.
- Look for God in the small stuff. We often seek the miraculous and miss God’s presence in the simple things of life. Recently our son left his shoes at our house. Since he was going hiking the next day we took them over to his apartment where his sister-in-laws and brother-in-law were staying. While there we were able to have quiet conversation, soul type conversation that was not possible during the events of the previous day. God offers us small invitations to notice and connect with him in our daily lives.
- Examine your picture of God. Most of us have God-shaped images that are inaccurate. We base our picture of God on past authority figures in our life, figures that rarely measure up to the true image of God. Common, but inaccurate, pictures of God are that he is critical and judgmental; he is Santa in a halo; or he is distant and cold. Instead notice how Jesus treats others. He models a true picture of God. Once we recognize the God who is, it is easier to build a relationship with him.
- Live an intentional life with God. We don’t just drift into relationships, but “if we seek him, we will surely find him.” Jer. 29:13. The seeking is just as valuable as the finding. Reviewing our day is a way to discover God’s presence within the ordinary.
- Talk to God about the ordinary and everyday. As you look at the good in your day you will also discover the not-so-good about your day. These moments are fodder for conversation with God. Disappointments, anger, fear and so forth can draw us closer to God as we discover what he is teaching us in these situations. God uses our ordinary lives to train us to become like his son.