The following is a quick description of the basic beliefs that underpin our spiritual development approach (spiritual formation).
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We Have Been Formed by Christ. Spiritual metamorphosis is the process by which Christ is produced in us…for God's glory, our own abundant lives, and the sake of others. (Romans 8:29; Galatians 4:19; Romans 12:1, 2) The notion that human beings can be transformed to the point where they resemble Christ is important to the gospel message, and thus central to the Church's mission. Spiritual development in redeemed people's lives is a testimony to the Gospel's power, and it leads to a greater ability to perceive and do God's will. (Romans 12:2, NASB)
Mind Rejuvenation. It is God's desire and pleasure that we actively fight being conformed to this world and instead seek to be transformed through the renewing of our thoughts. Nous (translated mind in Romans 12:2) is a Greek word that encompasses, but extends far beyond, intellectual or cognitive knowledge. It refers to a person's faculties of perception and understanding, as well as the patterns of feeling, judging, and determining that form our behaviors and responses in the world. As a result, any approach to transformation that seeks to effect true change must go beyond merely grasping information at the cognitive level to full knowledge that affects our deepest inner orientations and trust structures, false-self patterns, and any obstacles that prevent us from fully surrendering to God. Clear teaching about the nature of the Christian life, tangible practices that help us internalize truth in ways that affect how we interact in the world, and a supportive and catalyzing community are all part of this process.
The Holy Spirit's Work Spiritual transformation is a contradiction in the sense that it is natural for Christ followers to grow and change, just as it is natural for humans to develop and change from childhood to adolescent to adulthood. The germ of Christ's life ( “At salvation, God plants everything we need for life and godliness in us, and if the conditions are appropriate, that seed will grow and flourish. The process of transformation, on the other hand, is supernatural in that it is something that only God, through the Holy Spirit, can achieve in our lives. Our advocate, teacher, and counselor, the third part of the Trinity, has been given to us to lead us into truth as we are able to bear it (John 15 and 16) and to communicate the depths of God. (Colossians 2:9-16) We can find methods to open to this transformational process as it is guided by the Spirit, but we can't control or force it to happen. The Spirit's breeze blows where it will. (Acts 3:8)
Paul employs two analogies to hint to the natural-supernatural dichotomy. The first is how an embryo develops in its mother's womb: “I am in labor until Christ is formed (morphoo) in you.” Despite the fact that humans play a role in conceiving and giving birth to childrenand despite the fact that we believe we understand some facts about itsomething remains a mystery. The process of conception and birth is always a miracle, no matter how much we believe we know about it. It is something that God accomplishes. Each and every time.
It's the same with the transformation process, which Paul mentions in Romans 12:2.
Do not adapt to this world, but rather be transformed (metamorphoo) through renewing your thinking. The Greek word metamorphoo refers to the transformation of a caterpillar as it enters the cocoon's darkness, eventually emerging transformed nearly beyond recognition. The caterpillar surpasses its prior existence through metamorphosis, taking on an entirely different form with a completely different set of abilities. Something more primordial and God-ordained is at work in the transformation of the caterpillar, which appears to have little to do with cognitive understanding of the process of metamorphosis.
Embracing the unknown. In the physical world, both the creation of an embryo in its mother's womb and the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a cocoon are natural processes, but there is something supernatural about both. These metaphors place the process of spiritual development squarely in the category of mysterysomething outside the scope of normal human action and knowledge, something that can only be understood and brought about by divine activity.
In fact, everything we declare as vital to our Christian faith is referred to as a mystery somewhere in Scripture. The mystery of God (I Corinthians 2:1)…we are servants and stewards of God's mysteries (I Corinthians 4:1)…the mystery of God's will (Ephesians 1:9), the mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:4)…the mystery of the Gospel (Ephesians 6:19), the mystery of marriage (Ephesians 5:31, 32)…the mystery of Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:2
We are not comfortable with the gospel we preach if we are not comfortable with mystery. The journey of change needs some level of willingness to lose control and surrender to a process that we can not entirely comprehend or predict. We know we shall become more like Christ, but we cannot tell how or where the person of Christ living in and through us will manifest.
Spiritual Disciplines and Their Role While we cannot change ourselves into Christ's image, we may create the conditions for spiritual development to occur. Spiritual activities play a role in this. Spiritual practices aren't meant to earn God's favor or to demonstrate our spiritual superiority to others. They aren't a self-help program that allows us to take charge of our lives and change for the better. Spiritual disciplines, on the other hand, are specific acts that we engage in in order to make ourselves ready for God's work.
When Paul urges the Christians in Rome to repent, he is referring to this “This is your spiritual worship: present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” (1 Corinthians 12:1) He's suggesting that by engaging in disciplines that help us commit ourselves to God – not merely in theory, but in practice we can be intentional about creating the conditions for transformation. Richard Foster puts it this way: “The fundamental way we offer our bodies to God as a living sacrifice is via disciplines. We are using our bodies, thoughts, and hearts to the best of our abilities. God then takes this basic sacrifice of ourselves and does what we can't: He creates deeply embedded habits of love, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit within us.” (April 1999, Renovare Perspective)
The Importance of Community. In the context of disciplines and practices that open us to God, spiritual transformation occurs gradually over time alongside others. In general, our transformation will take place in stages while we are still on this planet (II Corinthians 3:18), and we will need each other to progress. (12 Corinthians)
In Romans 12 and the other epistles, Paul's teaching on spiritual development is always provided in the framework of communitythe body of Christ with its many members.
In the body of Christ, we are given to one another for mutual edification and to encourage one another on to love and good works. Our spiritual gifts are entrusted to us so that we can be agents of grace for one another, building up the Body of which we are merely a part. According to Robert Mulholland, “We can't be moulded to Christ's image outside of corporate spirituality any more than a coal can burn outside of a fire.” (p.145, Invitation to a Journey)
While private disciplines (solitude and silence, prayer and meditation, scripture, self-examination and confession, retreat, spiritual direction) are important, our spiritual practices must also include communal disciplines (corporate prayer and worship, teaching, communion, Sabbath, hospitality, caring for those in need, spiritual friendship and direction), as well as disciplines of engagement with the world (evangelism, caring for the poor, compassion, justice, etc.)
For the sake of those who are less fortunate. Spiritual transformation is both an end in and of itself, bringing glory to God, and a means to other ends, allowing us to mediate Christ's presence to others and discern loving action in the world. Obedience to Christ's commandments (Matthew 28:18-20) is the litmus test of mature spirituality, which always requires a growing capacity to love God and people. (Matthew 12:30, 31; 1 Corinthians 12; 1 John 4:7)
Sharing our faith (evangelism), giving generously of our resources, reconciling and making peace (interpersonally and across lines of race, gender, socioeconomic status, and people groups), working for justice, exercising compassion and care for the poor, and working for the betterment of life in the human community in Jesus' name are all examples of loving presence and action in the world.
True Christian spiritual formation is either for the glory of God, for the abundance of our own lives, or for the sake of others. We toil and battle for this with all of the energy that God so forcefully instills in us.
What do you mean by spiritual transformation?
The author gives one perspective on spiritual transformation in this chapter. He starts by defining spirituality and then goes on to explain the importance of spiritual transformation, which includes the link between dramatic human change and the sacred. Spiritual transformation refers to a fundamental shift in the sacred's status or character as a source of meaning in one's life, as well as a shift in the individual's approach to the holy. Spiritual change, when defined in this way, is not exceptional nor unfathomable; rather, it is an integral element of spiritual life, one of the three processes essential to spirituality. People participate in efforts to discover the holy, conserve or sustain a relationship with the sacred once it is discovered, and modify that relationship in response to internal or external trauma and transition in the search for the sacred. However, once an individual's relationship with the sacred has been transformed, the search for the sacred does not end. Following this transition, the individual's responsibility becomes one of preserving this new sacred awareness. The search for the sacred progresses in this way over the course of a person's life. (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved, PsycINFO Database Record)
What are the steps of spiritual transformation?
“As the universe evolves and deepens, so does our perception of God, and so does our moral development,” Rohr stated.
Rohr identified four stages of spiritual and moral development, borrowing terminology from another writer, Ken Wilber: cleaning up, growing up, waking up, and showing up.
“We mainly (mirror) the dominant culture's moral preoccupations in every era and denomination,” he remarked. “Our primarily exterior understanding of morality is superficial and reflects the values of many ‘purity codes' in our not-so-mature culture.”
Cleaning concentrates on the outside. It rarely reflects “the brightness of Jesus' moral standards, which have to do with our interior attitudes first and foremost,” Rohr added.
What does it mean to go through a transformation?
A profound or dramatic change in form or appearance is defined as transformation. When we are called to undergo a metamorphosis, we must let go of what no longer serves us so that we can invite in what does.
Are you speaking things to your parents that you've always thought but never said? Do you have a squabble with your husband, have trouble speaking with your children, or are you often at odds with your boss?
Sure, they could just be the natural ebbs and flows of life, but you can choose to look at them through a more spiritual and symbolic lens. Look into it if you're experiencing an unusual quantity of conflict in many aspects of your life.
Where do you begin if you've been asked to make changes? Rather than being concerned about the problems that arise, attempt to become an observer. Take note of what's going on, how it makes you feel, and be willing to use conflict in all relationships as a conduit to your highest self.
How does transformation happen?
In a process known as transformation, bacteria can take up foreign DNA. It takes place following restriction digestion and ligation, and it involves the transfer of freshly created plasmids to bacteria. Bacteria are picked on antibiotic plates after transformation. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria carry plasmids, and each one forms a colony.
How do you know if you are transforming?
We've been there before. We understand what you're going through. You've suddenly stopped working overtime at work in favor of getting to yoga class on time. You've also switched from tequila to wheatgrass as a shot.
The issue is that no one else appears to be doing it. You were in line when they were handing out curious minds, it appears.
You go back in time to when you were a kid. You were looking up at the night sky, wondering where you came from and why you're here, while everyone else was playing with Barbie dolls or pretending to be a Power Ranger. You posed questions to which no one could respond.
Adulthood gradually took grip. Conditioning had taken hold. Quadratic equations dampened your vivid imagination as your head was packed with facts and figures. Dreams of becoming a Danger Mouse or a dancer vanished.
That is, until curiosity called, no matter how established or content you thought you were. Your best-laid intentions went awry, and life steered you in a new direction.
No one knows why some people wake up. There are theories that it's pre-programmed into our DNA, a pre-determined destiny, and a mission that needs to be accomplished. When it hits, though, it aches because it rips everything we thought was safe from under our feet. We find ourselves awake, vulnerable, and raw, grasping the bedroom floor.
It's terrifying at first, until you realize you're in the midst of an internal revolution for the sake of your own progress. Here's how to recognize if you're going through a metamorphosis so you can replace your sense of perplexity with a sense of amazement.
How do you recognize a spiritual person?
The first evidence of a spiritual person is their lack of fear. When you have a fear or a chronic worry, that fear takes over your life and you are unable to be in the present moment. Fear of public speaking, fear of heights, and fear of bugs are the three most common fears among Americans. Many people, however, are terrified of death, rejection, loneliness, failure, illness, or making poor judgments. Spiritual people understand how to yield to forces beyond their control. In this way, they are similar to children in that they know how to ignore their minds and live fearlessly.
What are the stages of spiritual awakening?
The hero's journey, an evolutionary process of growth and transformation woven into all great myths and stories, was outlined by renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell: “A genuinely heroic shift of awareness occurs when we stop worrying about ourselves and our own self-preservation.”
The primary pushing off point for any hero's quest is known as the call to adventure. The call to adventure is a break from regular life, a signal that comes from deep inside, grabs your attention, and drives you in a new direction. The spark that sets off a spiritual awakening is a call to adventure. Every life has a moment that, if grasped, will change it forever. The call to adventure is a reawakening experience, a shift in perspective that forces you to reconsider your perspective on life. A travel to a strange location, the loss of innocence, an illness, a challenge, the death of a close friend, a near-death experience, or the loss of a job are all examples of spiritual experiences. Regardless of the specifics, the experience alters your perspective and causes you to see the world through fresh eyes. You've been given the task of living an ordinary life in an extraordinary way.
At this critical juncture, Joseph Campbell advises that you must choose whether or not to accept the call to adventure. In truth, though, ignoring the call isn't an option because your soul is inviting you to change on a deeper level. If you ignore the call, the opportunity will recycle itself like a skip on a record, patiently waiting for you to embrace the call to a new existence, thanks to your unique karmic influences. Furthermore, there is no going back once a transforming and deeply waking incident has occurred. Your eyes have been opened, and no matter how much you try to reject it, you can't turn away from the image of a greater reality calling to you.
You enter a broader universe once you've answered the call to adventure. You take an active role in your spiritual development and advancement. As you begin to manage your life toward chances that enhance your knowledge, responsibility becomes the operative word. Everything feels the same and weirdly different at the same time, thanks to a tiny alteration in perspective.
Does the Holy Spirit transform us?
According to the Bible, “As we are transformed into his magnificent image, the Lord… makes us more and more like him.” (3:18)
You can't imitate Jesus' character on your own or with your own strength. New Year's resolutions, determination, and good intentions are insufficient. Only the Holy Spirit has the ability to bring about the changes that God desires in our life. God is working in you, giving you the desire and power to accomplish what pleases him, according to Philippians 2:13.
When we hear the phrase, we immediately think of “Many people associate the Holy Spirit's power with miracles and tremendous emotions. The Holy Spirit's power is most often released in our lives in quiet, unassuming ways that we aren't even aware of or experience. We are frequently nudges by the Holy Spirit “A soft whisper.”
Inhabitation, rather than imitation, produces Christ's likeness. We give Christ permission to live through us. “The secret is that Christ resides within you.” (1:27 in Colossians)
This occurs in real life as a result of our decisions. We choose to do the right thing in difficult situations and then trust God's Spirit to provide us with the strength, love, faith, and knowledge we need to do so. These things are always available for the asking since God's Spirit is within us.