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Everything Is Spiritual Formation

Today’s Reflection

SPIRITUAL FORMATION is not an instantaneous process, although there may well be instantaneous experiences at certain points along the journey. Spiritual formation is a lifelong process of growth into the image of Christ. This gradual aspect of spiritual formation moves against the grain of our instant gratification culture. We have been conditioned to expect almost immediate returns on our investments of time, energy, or resources. For this reason, you may find it difficult at points to accept the necessity of undergoing a lengthy period of spiritual discipline before experiencing any substantive change in your life. …

Spiritual formation is not an option. Spiritual formation is not a discipline just for “dedicated disciples.” It is not a pursuit only for the pious. Spiritual formation is not an activity for the committed alone. …

Every event of life is an experience of spiritual formation. Every action taken, every response made, every dynamic of relationship, every thought held, every emotion allowed: these are the minuscule arenas where, bit by bit, infinitesimal piece by infinitesimal piece, we are shaped into some kind of being.

We are being shaped either toward the wholeness of the image of Christ or toward a horribly destructive caricature of that image. This is why Paul urges Christians, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17, NRSV, italics added). The Christian’s spiritual journey is a life lived in, through, and for God.

– M. Robert Mulholland Jr.
Shaped by the Word

From pages 25-26 of Shaped by the Word: The Power of Scripture in Spiritual Formation, revised edition, by M. Robert Mulholland Jr. Copyright © 2000 by M. Robert Mulholland Jr. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Where do you see yourself engaged in intentional spiritual formation? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.
Psalm 17:15, NRSV

This Week: pray for communal harmony. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Basil the Blessed (August 2).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Carol August 2, 2017, 5:54 am

    I’m unsure what the question means except to say that “all things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose”. We/I have seen this and on looking back we now know. c

  • robert moeller August 2, 2017, 6:08 am

    At church we are learning about “holy conferencing” looking at subjects that Christians find difficult to discuss. This has been a very good, helpful, intentional activity improving spiritual formation. Evolution, creation, images of God, and sexism have been discussed with the whole congregation sharing.
    More topics yet to be discussed.

    Prayers for the sale of a house which is taking longer than expected and causing financial worry. The buyer needs a new lender. Thankful for resources to pay bills, tasks done, healing and rest for Erich, discussions on jobs and the future, efforts to research and make progress, the ability to help a neighbor, and a friend. Thankful to attend a band concert that has a family tie.

    Prayers for communal harmony, thankful for the many helpful posts yesterday. Lots of agreement between them. Prayers for Julie’s, Andrea’s, and Jill’s health concerns. Thank You, Lord for all these blessings. God be with you all.

  • Betsy August 2, 2017, 7:08 am

    Through my work in the Kairos Ministry, I feel God continuing to shape me and grow me as I reach out to women who have been impacted by incarceration. I look to Him for direction as to how best to use our group of volunteers to support the ladies we have met and will soon meet. Thank you, Lord, for giving us all opportunities to transform in your love.

    Robert, it sounds as if you were greatly moved by the concert you attended. I, too, count many musical moments as emotional events. Music can be a wonderful reminder of past events and people in our lives.

    I ask for prayers today for the mother of a very dear friend. She is in the final stages of cancer and is resting in the care of hospice. Praying for comfort and strength for the family in the days and weeks to come. Amen

    • robert moeller August 2, 2017, 7:20 am

      Yes, the band concert took me back to somewhere in the 1950s-60s when we went to see my uncle play in the band. It was a good concert last night. I met people who knew my uncle.

      For some time I sent copies of the UR to people in prison. Had letters from two of the four. Have changed churches, told those I wrote to confirm their addresses, but no reply. One person is now out of prison. Will send a letter to the addresses I have and see what happens.

      Yes, spiritual formation is ongoing. I think that is a good thing.
      Thank you for your help to those in prison. Many blessings.

  • Julie August 2, 2017, 7:53 am

    Betsy, will add your friend and her family to my prayers. I once worked as a social worker in hospice care, it was a job I loved. Quite different from my previoous career of nuclear engineer.
    Robert, continued prayers for the sale of your house and for job success for Erich
    Blessings to all today

  • Michaela August 2, 2017, 8:08 pm

    Simply praying for others instead of just myself, surprisingly has given me spiritual growth. It wasn’t intentional in the beginning but now it is.

    • robert moeller August 2, 2017, 8:28 pm

      Yes, I most certainly agree. Pray for enemies too. Not easy, but it is what Jesus asks us to do. God loved us while we were sinners. Spiritual growth comes in many different ways. Thank You, Lord.

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