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The Paradox of Spiritual Formation

I read 2 Peter 1:3-7 this morning.

Entangled Trinity-04This passage demonstrates the great paradox of spiritual formation. Faith is a gift from God. Everything we need is provided by God’s power, not ours. Our life in God is not the result of our work; whether it be acts of righteousness, a profession of faith, following the rules, etc. It is God’s gracious gift and work in us and for us. Thanks be to God!

Yet, there is much work to be done on our part. This is the paradox. The author of 2 Peter encourages the reader to “make every effort to support your faith.” Why do we strive? Is it to earn a place in Heaven? Is it to elevate us above others? No. We strive so that we might “escape the corruption that is in the world because of lust.”

I don’t believe this is an “escape hatch” spirituality that hopes to flee the physical world in hope of a spiritual utopia. We strive to support our faith so that we may escape the corruption that is brought about by lust. Lust is any desire that seeks to satisfy the self at any cost. Lust goes far beyond sexual desire. The lust for power, money, fame, and security is the driving force behind most corruption in politics and economics.

God’s faithful people are called to “support our faith” with the things that will provide the world with an alternative to the corrosive effects of lust. These things are: goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual affection, and love. These sound a lot like the fruit of the Spirit, don’t they? When we cultivate our relationship with God, through Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, then these corrosive-resistant qualities are formed in and through us for the good of the world.

This is why I am so excited to start The Journey this fall. The Journey will be a slow process that will cultivate spaces in people’s lives in which the Spirit can be formed. It is my prayer that we who travel this Journey together will “support our faith” through this effort so that the world may find an alternative path to the “corruption that is in the world because of lust.”

Learn more about The Journey

 

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