Recently, a friend made some observation comments about some spiritual fruit they saw in my life. This caused me to think back and reflect on what helped to produce the results they were seeing. Of course, as my blog title suggests, it is all about the journey and just like many substances in nature, it is impossible to isolate certain things and deem them solely responsible for anything. Life is synergistic and any one element, no matter how small, if omitted, would not produce the same result just as changing or omitting any gene/DNA would alter the finished product considerably.
But as I pondered, I was reminded of a forgotten opportunity many years ago to audit a graduate level course entitled “Christian Spiritual Formation.” That class, the books I studied and the concepts I learned played a huge role in shaping who I am today. I specifically recalled one book that probably had the greatest impact, entitled “Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation.” Although billed as a textbook, it doesn’t read like one and it is a shame it has been relegated as such, because the concepts presented in it are foundational to living a truly “holistic” life in Christ.
Below are listed the sections considered the “12 Facets of the Complete Christian Life“:
- Relational Spirituality: Loving God Completely, Ourselves Correctly, and Others Compassionately
- Paradigm Spirituality: Cultivating an Eternal versus a Temporal Perspective
- Disciplined Spirituality: Engaging in the Historical Disciplines
- Exchanged Life Spirituality: Grasping Our True Identity in Christ
- Motivated Spirituality: A Set of Biblical Incentives
- Devotional Spirituality: Falling in Love with God
- Holistic Spirituality: Every Component of Life under the Lordship of Christ
- Process Spirituality: Process versus Product, Being versus Doing
- Spirit-Filled Spirituality: Walking in the Power of the Spirit
- Warfare Spirituality: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil
- Nurturing Spirituality: A Lifestyle of Evangelism and Discipleship
- Corporate Spirituality: Encouragement, Accountability, and Worship
As I reread these “facets” some 15 years later, I am astounded at what God has done in all these areas in my life! Obviously now reflecting on this past “gem,” I can wholeheartedly recommend its message. Oh, what would the body of Christ in “the West” look like if we all embraced this holistic approach to our life in Christ! Sadly, the intentionality of spiritual formation seems to be, for the most part, a foreign concept to us.
So thank you, dear friend (and you know who you are 😉 ), for your poignant observations and for reminding me of where I’ve been and just how far I’ve come!