A Spiritual Formation Refresher

d30b4b5c-ea88-1c25-3245-ac07975ef6d7Twelve years ago, UWM embarked on an intentional process of spiritual formation for our global workers and our partners. You may be wondering what is spiritual formation?

Spiritual formation is the process of developing relational connectedness to Christ while learning the themes and disciplines of biblical spirituality so that you can discern, experience, and respond to God’s presence, work, and Word. It is the process of sanctification and the ways we are to cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit.

Some of the desired outcomes for reflection are found in Scripture: 

  • To experience friendship with Jesus (John 15:15),
  • To renew/transform our heart and inner world (Gal 4:19; 2 Cor 3:18; 4:16),
  • To pattern our entire life in the way of Christ (Eph 4:32 – 5:2; Phil 2:5;      1 Thes 1:6),
  • To have sustained partnership and fruitfulness in the missional purposes of God in the world (John 15:4-5, 8, 16; 20:21). 

The Holy Spirit is always at work to bring about our Christlikeness and draw us into an intimate loving relationship with God. This happens when truth is revealed, our sin is exposed, and we are drawn to repent. It unfolds as the Holy Spirit testifies to the virtues of Jesus flowing through us, we discern and follow the guidance of God in our lives, and experience His peace and comfort in times of trial and sorrow. The Holy Spirit uses the real and raw materials of our lives for this good work and it is intended for God’s glory and our good.

Three Ways to Refresh Your Spiritual Formation Practices

Refresh Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual disciplines help us to be awake, attentive, and responsive to God’s interaction with us.

  • What spiritual practices would be most helpful to incorporate in this season?
  • How can you make space for silence and solitude? Consider the unexpected 15 minutes that open up and find a place you will go in your home or elsewhere that provides a space of restfulness. 
  • What forms of prayer? Consider the Prayer of Examine, Scripture prayers such as ACTS: Adoration-Confession-Thanksgiving-Supplications, etc. 
  • What forms of reading and reflecting on God’s Word?
  • How can you practice gratitude and regular remembrance of God’s goodness and faithfulness?

Refresh Holy Rhythms

Daily and weekly devotional rhythms are dedicated times for a “mini-retreat” with God. They are the place and time where you can retreat into the arms of God, talk with Him, listen to Him, and be renewed, formed, and given guidance with all that is going on in your heart, mind, and life.

  • What are some new rhythms you sense may be helpful daily? Weekly?  It’s okay to be creative here. Perhaps it is a walk with God, being in nature, a comfortable chair, and coffee. 
  • How can you reboot your intent to have daily and weekly rhythms that foster the holiness you are called to and desire?

Refresh Spiritual Friendship

The Christian life is not meant to be lived privately; it is intended to be communal. A spiritual friend can become a sacred space for growth, encouragement, and dialogue about the truth and can also foster brotherly fellowship.

  • How can you be more intentional about meeting with a friend or company of friends in a way that fosters spiritual encouragement among you and a place for mutual honest sharing and prayerfulness?

Martin Luther wrote, "This life, therefore, is not righteousness but growth in righteousness, not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished but it is going on. This is not the end but it is the road; all does not gleam in glory but all is being purified."

We are all somewhere in our sanctification journey, desiring the good work of God to find His way in us. It is a lifelong journey. I pray we will each have a great longing to slow down, lean in, and join in what God has already begun.