“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:20-23).
Not to over simplify, but essentially, the term “spiritual formation,” for a Christian, refers to the process of being conformed to the image of Jesus (2 Cor 3:17-18). In Foundations of Spiritual Formation, by Paul Petitt, Jonathan Morrow contributes, “Spiritual formation is divinely enabled by God through three essential resources: God’s Word, God’s Spirit, and God’s people (the church),” and of these, I propose that the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, is the most neglected and most essential for spiritual formation. Despite a knee jerk reaction that it is God’s Word, the Bible, or church fellowship, I hold that the Holy Spirit is ostensibly the most neglected of the three. What is more, apathy that exists toward the other two actually lends itself to that view, because as Morrow goes to write, “In short, there is no spiritual formation if there is no activity of the Holy Spirit.”
Micah 3:8 describes the Holy Spirit as a living, active force. Psalm 104:30 describes the Spirit with similar characteristics. Jesus describes the Spirit of God as living and active, attributing qualities of personhood, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13, NIV). Consequently, making the leap from original apostle to the everyday Christian of today, Paul writes to the Ephesians: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (3:20-21). In his letter, the apostle exhorts the church that the Holy Spirit is constantly at work in them, conforming them to the character of Christ, while admonishing sin, guiding them in prayer, worship, and service. In essence, Paul reinforces the point that the more we yield to the Spirit of God, the greater the Spirit’s effectiveness in producing good fruits in us and through us. Therefore, the inference here is that if we are yielded to the Spirit, we would produce the fruit of a Christlike character, including studying Scripture and engaging other believers, among other things. Neglect of God’s Word or communing with His people are effects of which neglect of the Holy Spirit is at the root.
After all, our primary calling, as Christians, is living in relationship with God, which is frequently confused with what is our functional calling or how we live out our daily lives to serve that primary calling. In other words, our calling is more than pursuing a particular career path or even a life choice like who we marry. Living out our primary calling has the power to shape any functional callings and our spiritual formation, which is the result of the Holy Spirit at work within us. Through the process of spiritual formation, which Scripture tells us God has initiated and predestined (cf. Rom 8:28,29; Eph 1:11), we are regenerated, changed beings, and that change manifests in our lives as we grow spiritually. Through Christ, we are transformed into people who increasingly understand God’s calling on our lives, and the Holy Spirit guides our ongoing journey towards union with God.
“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:20-23).
 Paul Petitt, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications 2008), 45.
 Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the New International Version.
 Petitt, 200.
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“But he who would fully and feelingly understand the words of Christ must study to make his whole life conformable to that of Christ. What doth it avail thee to discourse profoundly of the Trinity if thou be void of humility, and consequently, displeasing to the Trinity? In truth sublime words not make a man holy and just: but a virtuous life maketh him dear to God.” “Vanity of vanities and all is vanity.” Eccles 1. 2. “Except to love God and serve Him alone. This is the highest wisdom, by despising the world to tend to heavenly kingdoms.”
Often remember that proverb: “the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.” Eccles 1. 8.
“Study, therefore, to withdraw thy heart from the love of visible things and to turn thyself to things invisible.” My Imitation of Christ.
The focus of these words for me is how our time is short here! Think of that, we don’t live long really at all here. And tragedy or an accident could befall anyone at any time and this is over in a flash. When we are younger sure we tend to not think of such things because we feel brash and full of promise but even then it can be over in a heartbeat. So, it really is so vitally imperative that any person hopefully learn that these words I typed to share here are ideas that focus on a key directive that has been given to us and now these words clearly tell us, “that serving and loving God” is all that matters my friends.
Many dots are being connected all the time; God gives us all of the dots and we are supposed to connect them. In so doing we demonstrate our faithful heart desire to follow Him, and that we put Him front and center, saying we are here Lord to Love and Serve You. Amen.
Brother in Christ Lawrence
“If God were our one and only desire we would not be so easily upset when our opinions do not find outside acceptance.” ― Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
St Paul said in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5: 1-2)
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
“The things that we love tell us what we are.” —St. Thomas Aquinas
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37
Romans 5:4-6 “perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. 6For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
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So sorry for the miss copy/paste in this final Scripture. The following was my intent.
Romans 5:3-5 “Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
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John 14:26-27 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you. 27Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.”
Such a good reminder when life’s situations tempt us to trust in ourselves and not the Lord, to see the Lord as one of many when instead, He is the Only way!
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Thanks for sharing this idea. Anita
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You are very welcome!
I find less and less pleasure in natural things and focus my eyes and heart toward Christ and depend on the Holy Spirit in the tasks and responsibilities of each day. I look for Him in all I do and His presence is stronger as I yield. It is not always a joy ride and requires much of me but it produces true joy within.
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Indeed! And that is something the world doesn’t understand that “It is not always a joy ride and requires much of me but it produces true joy within.” Thank you for sharing that!
Thanks dear…God bless you
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Thank you! God bless you as well!