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23rd June 2022

Spiritual Styles / Preferences

We are inner & outer beings – body, soul & spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
We are constantly developing in each of those areas as the Lord sanctifies us & seeks to make us ever more like Jesus.
Our spiritual formation ‘In Christ’ designed to one day present us faultless in God’s presence!!
Our progress & journey to Christlikeness is influenced by Word (head), Emotion (heart), Symbol (mystic) or Action (social justice).
Today we will explore a little more about EMOTION.

God is constantly at work through the indwelling Spirit seeking to form Christ in each one of us.
Our minds being renewed & our hearts transformed to conform us to Christ in attitude, action, character & conduct.
Our journey into godliness progressing to the degree & depth to which we respond to the Lord.
Part of this process takes place in our hearts (core being & inner self) & also through our bodies.

But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8

But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, for whom I labour in birth again until Christ is formed in you, I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you. Galatians 4:18-20

EMOTIONS (Heart) – The way of the emotions & experience.
Feelings, emotions & experiences are core to this mode of spirituality.
It is about allowing one’s innermost being to be moved through spiritual encounter/s with the Lord.
The intensity or depth of experience being more important than the actual emotions themselves.
Lots of differing emotions & expressions are therefore involved.
It is the freedom to deeply feel & express those emotions through experiences & encounters that matters most.
Primarily it is an emotion-centred feeling spirituality & knowing God at heart level.

Worship, music & the performing arts are highly valued through this approach.
Sensing God’s presence in passionate ways are important features.
Gathering together & fellowship help evoke the feelings that matter.
These people can be deeply passionate, highly enthusiastic & pretty charismatic. Spontaneity is readily embraced.
Stimulating & evoking the differing senses we have help them to encounter the Lord.
Close personal relationships are treasured & highly intimate terms are used for one’s relationship with the Lord.
Knowing God more & feeling close to & intimate with Him is facilitated & helped by encountering His presence in tangible ways.

Clearly this style & approach to spiritual formation will be a strong stimulus for deepening our relationship with the Lord.
It will also enhance our experience of, & provide us greater freedom, in worship.
It encourages us to have an open mind to & try new forms of worship or spiritual practice.
The depth of emotions & living in the moment (highs & lows) can help us in our intimacy with God.
It is a style & approach based heavily upon feelings & experiences.
A danger is that we could become too emotional or experience driven & perhaps even drift into pietism.
Many of our worship leaders & performing artists (dance /drama/ art) in the Church are likely influenced & motivated by this style.
Let us give thanks for them & their ministries in our midst.
Let us also seek to be more open & receptive to God in our HEART & seek greater freedom to express our emotions spontaneously.

For Reflection

  • How powerfully are you influenced & affected by artistic things (music, art, dance, drama)?
  • How important to you is it to encounter & experience God in meaningful ways?
  • Meditate on the emotion (heart) based approach to spiritual formation.

A song related to this theme:


Heavenly Father,
Thank you that You are seeking to make me ever more like Jesus.
Lord Jesus draw me deeper into Your presence to experience the intimacy of Your heart.
Holy Spirit keep me encountering & experiencing You in deep, meaningful & transformative ways.
That I may know Father, Son & Spirit with greater passion & desire.
This I ask in, & through, Your mighty Name.

Written by Gareth Jones

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