Friday, March 25, 2022

Formed By the Word Week 11: Formed


Week 11: Formed

This week I didn't have a lot of time to dig into Bible study in order to have a word for today's theme. I was originally thinking about simply skipping this week with an apology, but as I was leafing through my spiritual formation art journal this morning I came across a page I made at the beginning of the journal. It contains a quote from a book by Dallas Willard that captures for me what spiritual formation is and the purpose of being intentional about what forms us as Christ-followers.

"Spiritual transformation into Christlikeness is a process of forming the inner world of the human self in such a way that it takes on the character of the inner being of Jesus himself, The result is that the outer life of the individual increasingly becomes a natural expression of the inner reality of Jesus and his teachings. Doing what he said and did increasingly becomes a part of who we are." Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart.

Being a Christ-follower means that we are on a life-long journey in the process of growing more and more like Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian church, "My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you..." Galatians 4:19

To the Ephesians he stated the goal this way, "to become mature, attaining to the whole measure the fullness of Christ" and "we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:13 & 15 

To the Romans he wrote, "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likenessof his Son..." Romans 8:29

To the Corinthians he said, "We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness, with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Williard explains that, "The human spirit is an inescapable, fundamental aspect of every human being; and it takes on whichever character it has from the experiences and the choices that we have lived through or made in the past. That is what it means to be 'formed'." He goes on to say, "That spiritual place within us [the heart] from which outlook, choices, and actions come from has been formed by a world away from God. Now it must be our spiritual dimension has been formed, so it also must be transformed."

As we grow in the knowledge of who Christ is, how He lived, who He calls us to be, how He calls us to imitate His life, then we become increasingly formed into His likeness. But it is a life-long process making those who are in Christ life-long learners. It requires of us a dedication to reading and studying the Word of God. But, thankfully, it is not solely dependent on us alone. This is the great mystery of God; "Christ in you." (Colossian 1:27). God gave us His Spirit. "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (Philiipians 2:13) The Spirit of God works in us and in conjunction with our will. It's a holy partnership!

Share the journey of being formed by the Word with me. After reading the above post, do some study on your own. Dig deeper into the verses and passages mentioned and then respond creatively. Share your thoughts and creative responses in the comment section below or on social media with #formedby theword and #wordsartandfaithgroup, and in our private Facebook group for words challenges the Words Art and Faith group.

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