FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

 

1. What is spiritual formation?
  • A part of the conversation now taking part on the fringes of the established church centers on spiritual formation. For decades, spiritual formation has been neglected by most of the Protestant wing of the church. An unhealthy focus on the interpretation of “faith without works” has caused much of the problem.

 

  • Spiritual formation is not something to be shunned by falsely depicting it as a means to work for salvation. To the contrary, disciplines involved in the pursuit of positive spiritual formation are means of grace. Without God, they would be meaningless. But by grace, we partner with God in the transformation of our very selves.

 

  • Therefore, spiritual formation is a process by which our inner self is given “form” or “character”. To be formed spiritually is to be formed Christianly, that is to have our inner being become more and more like the inner being of Jesus Christ. This act of God’s grace comes freely to those who choose to intentionally engage the journey of a transformed life.

 

  • Spiritual formation derives its name from Galatians 4:19 where the Apostle Paul expresses his “anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.”

 

  • Dallas Willard and Richard Foster are two examples of current writers in the field of spiritual formation. Additionally, Foster founded Renovare which is a para-church organisation seeking to promote spiritual formation.

 

 

2. What are spiritual disciplines?
  • Dallas Willard defines a discipline as, "any activity within our power that we engage in to enable us to do what we cannot do by direct effort."

 

  • Spiritual disciplines is an invitation for us to make an intentional effort to cultivate the kind of life in which God can bring change. It is an invitation for us to train ourselves in the practices for growing in the likeness of Christ. These practices have historically been referred to as the spiritual disciplines.

 

  • The task for us, therefore is to cultivate our daily lives into fertile ground in which God can bring growth and change. This is what the spiritual disciplines are all about.

 

  • Spiritual Disciplines on a personal level:
    These are the spiritual disciplines that are activities the individual Christian should embark upon in order to develop him/herself as a mature, Christ-like believer. These disciplines can be divided into two sub-categories: internal and external disciplines:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Spiritual Disciplines on a corporate level:   These are the spiritual disciplines that are activities for the body of believers. These disciplines are best practised in the context of a local church body to which one is a member, but can also include gatherings of multiple congregations for special celebrations of God's grace and glory. 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Why should Christians engage in disciplines in his walk with Jesus Christ?
  • Oswald Chambers wrote, ‘ “ Do you also want to go away?”’ (John 6:67) What a penetrating question! Our Lord’s words often hit home for us when He speaks in the simplest way. In spite of the fact that we know who Jesus is, He asks, “Do you also want to go away?” We must continually maintain an adventurous attitude toward Him, despite any potential personal risk.’ (Oswald S. Chambers, My Utmost For His Greatest Devotional)

    According to Chambers, Christians have to understand the need for the proper spiritual disciplines in our life so that we will not “go away” from Jesus.

 

  • Spiritual discipline makes us spiritually fit (refer to I Timothy 4:7-8).

 

  • Spiritual discipline helps us focus on running the race of like (refer to I Corinthians 9:24).

 

  • Spiritual discipline strips us away the nonessentials (refer to Hebrews 12:1).

    (Link to Classics)

 

 

 

4. What is spiritual direction?
  • Spiritual direction has its roots in the Early Christianity. The gospels describe Jesus serving as a mentor to his disciples. Additionally, Acts of the Apostles Chapter 9 describes Ananias helping Paul of Tarsus to grow in his newfound experience of Christianity. Likewise, several of Pauline Epistles describe Paul mentoring both Timothy and Titus among others.

 

  • Spiritual direction is the practice of being with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the divine, or to learn and grow in their own personal spirituality. The person seeking direction shares stories of his or her encounters of the divine, or how he or she is experiencing spiritual issues. The director listens and asks questions to assist the directee in his or her process of reflection and spiritual growth. Spiritual direction develops a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human. It is not psychotherapy or counseling.

 

  • Spiritual direction is the contemplative practice of helping another person or group to awake to God in all of life, and to respond to that discovery in a growing relationship of freedom and commitment.

     

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