Friday, October 05, 2007

importance of Christian formation

I've been going through a heavy season of God working on me. My posts have reflected that and sometimes I think they've been a bit ponderous and heavy, and probably worked out more for my benefit than anything else, though I always hope for more than that. I doubt that everyone approves of this, as it seems to be too laden with self and sin. That can be true. But I believe it does reflect an important element in Scripture. And I believe we have to keep working on our Christian formation as we seek to be faithful to Christ as his Body in mission in this world.

I don't think this is a question of either/or. We need to work on our lives in Christ, as well as work on being the witness in the world we're called to be. I would challenge any who think that to be concerned about holiness and sin is to belittle grace and mission. Of course I certainly don't claim to be balanced myself. Nor do I claim that I'm where I should be at with reference to all of this. But I do think that we as humans go through seasons in which we have to deal with sin and Christian formation in a more direct, intense way than at other times. Gerald H. Wilson on the psalms points out the nature of Book 1 of the psalms (Psalm 1-41) and it's different than the other books. There is a season and time, and surely seasons and times for intense soul-searching before God and prayer, and even struggle.

Of course Christian formation, meaning Christ being formed in us, and we being formed in Christ, never ends in this life. We must carry on, and so that being the case, and my Bible reading as it does, I hope I never lose sight of the importance of Christian formation for myself and others. It is a vital part of the living dynamic of being in Christ in and before the world.


Anonymous said...

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

from a letter to the folowers of Christ in colosse

L.L. Barkat said...

It is interesting to consider how other things are formed in life... a painting, a sculpture, a meal. Mixing, chopping, molding, pressing... yes, but then the enjoyment.

Anonymous said...

when a person spends time with God...talking and know, the one on one, it could be said that the unexpected can happen. God could very well say something to us that is completely new and not expected. if it is God's will, then it is also what is best for us. is this how you see it?

not all of God's will for us is easy or can be either or both. but God's will is always the best for us.

do you ask for the leading of the Holy Spirit? i would guess that you do, but, always a good reminder for one another.

prayer is one on one with God.
prayer is moving.

prayer is doing.

prayer is asking for the Spirit's power to guide us.

prayer is the number one thing that believers can do to bring the power of the Spirit and discernment into our living and doing.

prayer is more than we think.

prayer is the most powerful thing that we can do for someone...or for our own spirit.

prayer is more powerful than anything else we can actually do.

Jesus prayed and is still praying. not "just" praying...ever. ain't just for grandmas.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Great passage from one of my favorite Bible books, maybe my own favorite over the years, Colossians. It goes on to say that therefore we're to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature. I think that is ongoing in our lives.

Prayer. Yes, there is no greater thing we can do here I suppose. Faith and obedience, and asking for the Spirit's leading and help and ministry in our lives is so important, and I'm sure I've not done so like I should, overall.

I think all kinds of prayers are good, and I think we need to be more and more in Scripture to pray better. But I also think prayer books can be helpful as well. My wife, Deb doesn't see eye to eye with me on that one, but that's okay. I just think there are so many well formulated prayers that we can pray together as a church. The prayer I post on Sunday is the main one for the entire week among other prayers from the "Book of Common Prayer." Of course I believe most of our praying should be free as in conversing with and speaking our own heart and words to God.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Great point. First comes all that goes into Christian formation. But the result which is good and does bring enjoyment follows.

I think both are ongoing in this life in a true sense, though I also think that as we get older and mature through being in this for years, we should see and experience more steady fruit and enjoyment from it.