A few weeks ago I came across an article by Evan Howard entitled “Three Temptations of Spiritual Formation.” * I have to admit the title caught my attention immediately. Below are a few sentences from the article.
“…. I love participating with believers who are hearing, seeing, and feeling God. But being touched is not necessarily being formed. Christian spiritual formation aims at conforming all of life (thought, feeling, word, and deed) to the life of Christ…. While powerful experiences of God contribute significantly to our continuing formation, conformity with Christ comes ultimately only through a lifetime of obedience and the grace of the Spirit: Christian spiritual formation. The blessings of spirituality have arrived, and resources to pursue the spiritual life abound. But therein lies a caution. When we are more interested in the fascinating resources than in pursuing relationship with God, when we use the right words to avoid the real Spirit, or when we pursue the experience of God more than the God of the experience, we are not yet practicing Christian spiritual formation.”
Let me confess that I am much attracted to the literature on spiritual formation and spiritual practices. I enjoy reading and talking about such. But therein lies the danger for me. I could easily become satisfied with reading and talking and lose sight of making myself available to God. I can look back to a time in my life when I read every book I came across on prayer, but was not setting aside time and space for praying.
What about you? How do you hear Howard’s words, “…more interested in the fascinating resources than in pursuing relationship with God … use the right words to avoid the real Spirit … pursue the experience of God more than the God of the experience …:”
Have you seen this happen?