What's in a Name

If you’re reading this you are probably a LIFEGroup driver. If you are a LIFEGroup driver you probably know all about the three relationships in every LIFEGroup. In the next weeks we are going to dig a little deeper into the three relationships.

One goal of every LIFEGroup is that every member of the group is being formed into the image of Christ. We call this the formative relationship. When was the last time you formed something? What does it mean to form something? What images come into your mind? The first thing I see in mind is a potter spinning a wheel and transforming a lump of clay into something beautiful.

When someone decides to follow Jesus that person receives the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works and begins to form the person. The Spirit begins to sculpt the believer into the image of Jesus. Imagine yourself a lump of clay becoming something beautiful and precious.

So how does this happen? If the Spirit is doing the work, then do we just sit back and watch it happen? The work of God is too mysterious to explain completely but one thing we do know is that we are not to be passive clay. We are to actively work towards our own transformation.

How is accomplished? How do we open ourselves to the formative work of the Spirit? One of the key ways is through what are called spiritual disciplines. These are things like praying, meditating, reading the Bible, memorizing scripture, fasting, and contemplation among many other methods.

All these things were practiced in the life and ministry of Jesus. Those who follow Jesus should not underestimate their importance. Spiritual disciplines are not a way to manipulate God’s favor. Rather they are a way to discipline our selves and prepare us for the transforming work of the Spirit.

All these disciplines mentioned have one thing in common. They are most often done in isolation. When we think of spiritual disciplines we often think of a silent monk sequestered away in the halls of a monastery. If the goal of our lives is to be formed into the image of Jesus then shouldn’t we spend our time in isolation solely focused on pursing those spiritual disciplines?

I guess the question is, was that how Jesus lived? Jesus did pursue the spiritual disciplines in isolation but also taught spiritual formation in community. But what does spiritual formation look like in community? We’ll look at that next week as we continue our discussion on formative relationships.