Disciplines for Spiritual Formation
Thesis Statement: The purpose of Spiritual Formation is to become more and more like Jesus so that we can reflect him on earth.
I. His word and our prayers are two essential spiritual disciplines which are mean to transform us into his image.
A. As we have seen, we have to renew our mind, to change our thinking, so that we become more like Jesus. This is the main point of spiritual formation.
B. John 15 shows two principles that are essential for Spiritual growth. These principles are:
1. God communicates with us: “My words abide in you.”
2. We communicate with God: “Ask whatever you wish:”
a. These two are both important. Example: Like humans who have to inhale and exhale.
b. They are not negotiable.
(1) The Bible teaches that the word is like our daily bread ().
(2) Jesus was expecting that his disciples pray regularly ().
c. These principles are not an end in them self, they are the mean to an end – to become more like him. They bring us into his presence.
(1) God has ordinated these disciplines as the way how he communicates with us (through his word) and how we can communicate with him (prayer). So that we might become like him.
(2) Example: If I do not speak with my wife and my wife does not respond to me, we become strangers.
C. To be in God’s presence will transform us in his image (2 Cor 3:18). For instance, Moses who was on the mountain with God and saw the glory of God and spoke with him, returned transformed. So, do we if we apply these tow principles in our lives.
1. The more time we spend with him, the more clearly, we see him.
2. The more clearly, we see him, the more we will be like him.
II. Why and how we should Study the word of God?
A. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 teaches two essential things about God’s word, our bible.
1. The word of God is breathed by him. That means if we read his word God speaks.
2. The word of God has the ability to make us complete and equip us with everything we need in our Christian life. This is amazing. Let’s have a look at the list:
a. It teaches.
b. It reproofs.
c. It corrects.
d. It trains us in righteousness.
e. It equips for every good work.
B. The effect of our inner spiritual live, when we read the word of God is described in Hebrew 4:12.
1. It is active and alive. It stirs up our inner being.
2. It separates the soul (flesh) and spirit. We can see what God’s will is and what not.
3. We can recognize what is in our mind.
4. We can see the true thoughts of our hearts.
C. How we should study the word of God? Again, we can find to main principles in the Bible in .
1. The Book shall not depart from your mouth.
a. We should daily Read or listen to God’s Word.
b. Best start your day with his Word. Like David said: Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. (143:8). In the morning you are fresh, and you can receive his word better and don’t know if you will have time later on.
c. If possible, set a time for your word study.
d. If possible, read aloud, so you speak out the word of God. You can also only take a certain verse in the text and speak it out loud.
2. You shall meditate on it, day and night.
a. Biblical meditation has nothing to with eastern thinking to empty your mind. If we meditate on God’s word, we fill our mind with God’s word, we eat his word. Jeremiah stated: “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty” ().
(1) To meditate means to think carefully about the words you read.
(2) To fill your mind with the word.
b. Better is quality than quantity. Take time to think about what you read carefully.
c. Take one crucial verse out of it and read it a couple of times. Try to memorize it.
(1) Best read slowly, word by word, so you are able to really understand what you read.
(2) Take a notebook and write it down.
d. To think about his word Day and night are not easy, because we have so much distraction. But these ideas can help us to make progress in this.
(1) Put a note in your phone to remember to think about God and his word. Change it after a time, because you get used to it and start to ignore it.
(2) Put Bible verses up in your office, your car, living room, etc. so you got reminded of his word.
(3) Before you go to sleep, try to memorize one verse and repeat it before you fall asleep. Or think about what you have read at that day, try to remember the content.