Path of Spiritual Formation

A break in the path halts power for the entire line. Consider faith…where is the breakdown?

A couple months ago, a bizarre weather phenomena blasted through our neighborhoods.

The derecho or “widespread, long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms” wrought devastation across many miles.

Fallen trees and broken limbs snapped powerlines. Thousands of homes and businesses went weeks and weeks without electricity. Utility workers labored night and day to reconnect the many miles of the wire pathways.

Connecting Pathways on Faith Journey

Frequently in Scripture, the image of a road or race is used to portray our spiritual journey. Electricity zips through the wires as long as its path remains connected and clear. Twists and breaks in the line halt conduction. Same is true in our path of spiritual growth.

The path is long and winding. We encounter twists and obstacles. We are to expect them…

“...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1b)

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7)

I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24)

Yet, we chaff at the inconveniences and the struggles. Our pride is wounded when we cannot advance. Our progress on the path of transformation halts.

I’ve long pondered our spiritual formation and the challenges with which we struggle. Ultimately, I know that we are called to be holyset apart for God’s glory.

But, how do we get there?

I recently started an online LIFT course with Willow Creek Association (The Leader’s Soul). Videos, articles, and online discussion boards have allowed me the opportunity to ponder even more! Our recent article, Dallas Willard’s Spiritual Formation as a Natural Path of Salvation, opened the conversations regarding our role in this transformation.

It is by God’s grace that we are saved. Period. Yet it is my responsibility to choose to grow in that grace to become more Christ-like in all that I am.

It is God’s grace that sustains me. Yet it is through my humility and openness to God that He can grow my character and dependence upon Him.

But how does this work??

Willard’s article highlights the 2 Peter 1:5-8 path of discipleship. Being the visual person that I am, I drew the path… then kept adding verses and thoughts.

Ponderings on the Path of Spiritual Transformation

In the powerlines of spiritual transformation, I found where I, umm, get pinched and experience the proverbial crimps in my wires…

I get stuck in the “self-control to perseverance” portion in the path! Sometimes I trot along with great determination and focus but other times I get bored or distracted and become directionless…then I am right back to struggling with self-control.

Willard points out that to stay on the path and to increase in grace and knowledge we must “open our life ever more fully to the presence and action of God with us in all we are and do…we need to increasingly humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.”

In order to move along to godliness and brotherly kindness and divine love, I need to learn to persevere … on a regular, daily basis.

For me, gaining a better understanding to this call of humility and acknowledgment of God’s mighty nature will keep me moving (albeit occasionally crawling!) on the transformation path … especially on the slower “self-control to perseverance” curve in the path!

How about you? Where are you on this path? 

Posted by Sharon R. Hoover

Photo Credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL) via photopin cc

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About Sharon R Hoover

Serving the church for over twenty years in discipleship and mission ministries, I've walked alongside many people travelling and exploring the journey of faith. Add in my own crazy path and I hope my writing will offer glimpses of life worth sharing.
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6 Responses to Path of Spiritual Formation

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  5. Carol Brown says:

    Sharon, This blog strikes a chord and I just have to share about a leadership training that I just am learning about. It’s called THRIVE and teaches church leadership all the brain skills needed to remain relational and joyful, (there are 19) and how to recognize the level of pain someone is in and what brain skill is needed for them to remain themselves in upsetting emotions and find their way back to joy. It is based on the latest cutting edge brain research AND is aligned with scripture. Here’s a link: http://www.thrivetoday.org/ Blessings, Carol Brown

    • Thanks for coming by, Carol! THRIVE sounds like a great resource. I hopped over to their website and browsed around. Very interesting. Thanks for the link. I’ll have to check it out further. I love that their work is biblically based!

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