Spiritual Styles / Preferences
We are being sanctified unto Christ by the Spirit following our salvation (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
That sanctification process will be influenced by our preferred spiritual style.
The means by which Christ is formed in us is dependent upon Word (head), Emotion (heart), Symbol (mystic) or Action (social justice).
Today we will explore a little more about SYMBOL.
God through His indwelling Spirit is constantly desiring & working to form more of Christ in each one of us.
Our inner life, mind & heart being transformed to conform us to Christ in attitude, action, character & conduct.
He has begun a good work & He will complete it.
Our progress in developing Christlikeness is related to the degree to which we partner with & respond to the Lord.
Part of this process takes place in & through our inner life & mystical union with Father, Son & Spirit – the Trinity.
or your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. Philippians 1:5-7
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13
SYMBOL (Mystic) – The journey & experience of mystery.
This is a quest to commune with God through being.
Seeing & experiencing God in & through all things, particularly the wonder & beauty of creation, is key.
The experience & encounter are the key thing rather than explaining it or putting it into concrete words.
God is beyond the scope of our understanding & the goal is to commune with the mystery of God.
It is about allowing one’s innermost being to be moved through mystical union with the Trinity.
The intensity or depth of experience again being of high value.
Primarily it is a spirituality of being.
This is a contemplative, meditative & deeply devotional approach to Christian spirituality.
Times of silence, solitude & retreat are all highly valued.
Imagery is important – beauty in nature or works of art including icons. Aesthetic spiritual disciplines may be readily embraced.
Abstract symbols, imagery & metaphors are the means to experiencing & engaging with the mystery of God.
Beautiful art or architecture are also a means of experiencing & encountering the Lord.
Sensing God & His presence in the midst of the moment, wherever one may be, is the quest.
Knowing God is a constant quest to experience Him in, & through, all things.
It is a style & approach based heavily upon intuition & being.
This style & approach to spiritual formation will be a stimulus for broadening & deepening our relationship with the Lord.
It will also enhance our appreciation of mystery, others, the arts & the natural world.
It encourages us to know & experience God in the depths of our being.
It may help & facilitate us in utilising the spiritual disciplines – practising the presence at all times.
The constant quest & adventure to connect & commune with God who is the mystery of mysteries.
A danger is we could become detached or even reclusive. We could be driven to escapism or drift into the heresy of quietism.
Many of our prophets or those taking up the monastic life 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 to communing with God in, & through, all things & appreciating His mystery.
- How readily do you grapple with the mystery of God?
- How important to you is private reflection or meditation in the midst of worship?
- Meditate on the symbol (mystic) based approach to spiritual formation.
A song related to this theme:
Thank you that You are sanctifying me & ever at work to make me more Christlike.
Lord Jesus help me to know & experience you in all things.
Holy Spirit keep me practising the presence in every moment of every day.
That I may know Father, Son & Spirit with greater passion & desire.
This I ask in, & through, Your mighty Name.
Written by Gareth Jones