This is the first in a long series on the work of Christian spiritual formation. That is to say: of the process by which we grow to maturity in Christ. And to do this we take an in-depth look at what the Bible has to say about the goal and process of spiritual growth, as well as examining the great spiritual teachers in church history.
As we go, I hope to persuade you that there is much more to the spiritual life than mastering a set of spiritual disciplines (indeed, I’m not much a fan of “discipline” in this context). The ultimate goal is love – and love grows in relationship, not by performing a set of behaviors!
In this episode I offer a short introduction to spiritual formation and take up the specific language of “personal relationship.” Can one have a personal relationship with Jesus? Really??? I think the answer is “yes.” But I will be the first to say that the church throws the phrase around far too liberally and without much reflection (and I hope to offer a little correction!).
If all goes well, by the end of this series (or series of series, as 101 will be followed by Loving God 201 and 301 and 401…), you will have a much clearer idea of what sort of relationship with Christ is possible and how to invest your efforts in such a way that the relationship grows throughout your life! Really!
Wouldn’t it be great if one day you discovered that you love to pray, give generously, forgive quickly, recognize your gifts and talents and invest them wisely…and it doesn’t take every ounce of your conscious effort??? I can be true!
This is a sermon that was originally presented at Canvas (a Presbyterian church in Irvine, CA), January 11, 2015. To learn more about Canvas, click here!
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