Last Sunday we began a new series titled “Sacred Rhythms,” inspired by Ruth Haley Barton’s book of the same title and my own personal experience with the spiritual formation program at the Transforming Center. This week we will share brief reflections from Ruth and the Transforming Center on the biblical and theological foundations of spiritual transformation. These reflections are available at www.transformingcenter.org. For a deeper look into this topic, I recommend the Transforming Center’s short study guide titled, “Spiritual Transformation: A Biblical and Theological Perspective.” I hope you enjoy these reflections! – Alex
Spiritual transformation is both an end in itself in that it brings glory to God and it is a means to other ends in that it enables us to mediate the presence of Christ to others and to discern loving action in the world. The litmus test of mature spirituality is obedience to Christ’s commandment (Matthew 28:18-20), which always involves an increasing capacity to love God and to love others. (Mark 12:30, 31; I Corinthians 12; I John 4:7)
Loving presence and action in the world includes sharing our faith (evangelism), giving generously of our resources, reconciliation and peacemaking (interpersonally and also 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.
All true Christian spiritual formation is for the glory of God, for the abundance of our own lives and for the sake of others or it is not Christian spiritual formation. For this we toil and struggle with all the energy that God so powerfully inspires within us.