Spiritual Formation Journey
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT
My good friend, Steve Papa found a relationship with Jesus when I challenged him to explore faith. I told him I would never talk to him about God again if he would honestly give God a chance to reveal Himself. Steve did and God did in a most unusual way.
God spoke through the scriptures in the Bible in such a way that Steve couldn’t deny His existence. Steve resisted a few more months but one night he knelt beside his bed, with his wife Linda, and chose to begin a personal relationship with Jesus. He asked Jesus to forgive his sins and invited Him to lead His life. He experienced amazing grace and he has never been the same.
My former secretary, Judy Burrell, loved Steve but often smiled at him and told him to “Keep it clean.” You can imagine her surprise and joy when Steve grew in his relationship to the point that he found his sweet spot leading the student ministry at a local church. Today Steve is a passionate follower of Jesus living SENT. Steve and Linda are so excited about what God has done in their lives that they are generous donors including helping to underwrite the printing of this book.
It is true for all of us, spiritual formation is a journey. There are several recognizable decision points along the way. We all grow as a disciple of Jesus at our own pace. Just like a physical body naturally matures, if it is healthy, so you will discover that the life of Jesus naturally grows in you. What He needs from you is cooperation. Are you cooperating?
Allow me to use Steve’s story as an illustration of Spiritual Formation. Stage one I call Exploring because we each go through a time of searching for truth. Stage two I call Beginning. In this stage a person accepts Jesus as their Savior and Leader. Stage three I call Growing. This is where the believer determines to grow to be like Jesus. Stage four I call SENT. This is the Jesus life where one lives on purpose, on mission all the time. SENT is the combination of loving God, loving people and living out the love of Jesus.
I met Steve when he was definitely Exploring. For seven years I shared my story and His story but Steve didn’t budge. He even asked me to quit as I referenced above. But Linda, his wife led him to Jesus, and he moved to stage two. He was Beginning. There were plenty of rough spots but Steve was committed to Growing to be like Jesus. He worked on every one of the 3Ls and he allowed the Holy Spirit to work on him. Now Steve and Linda are living SENT.
What stage of spiritual growth are you in? Where do you want to be? Will you commit today to asking the Holy Spirit to get you where He wants you to go? And will you pledge your complete cooperation?
Week 2, Spiritual Formation Journey, Day 5, Devo 10