Spiritual Styles / Preferences
Whilst Scripture & the Spirit are the most powerful shapers of our spiritual formation our preferences & styles also play a part.
This is true for us as individuals & it will also have an impact through our specific church communities.
Each churches will have it’s own expressions & depths of Word (head), Emotion (heart), Symbol (mystic) or Action (social justice).
God is at work through it all to form Christ in you & in me (Galatians 4:19; Hebrews 13:20-21).
He is faithful & He will accomplish it.
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Saviour,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Amen. Jude 24-25
Our spiritual formation is taking place from the moment we come to Christ.
Our individual styles & preferences blending with the style & preference of the church or Christian community that we are a part of to complement the powerful work of Scripture & the Spirit in our spiritual transformation.
Through it all we are being sanctified & transformed from glory unto glory into the image of Christ.
Spiritual formation is happening constantly!! The nature of that formation is what matters.
Just as individuals are limited or weaker in some of the spiritual styles so it will be with churches or communities.
We humans tend to stick with what we like & enjoy to form our comfort zones.
Churches & Christian communities do exactly the same!!!
Style & substance vary tremendously across the denominations, traditions & streams.
Every style & every church has strengths & weaknesses & therefore areas for growth & development.
As we have noted previously Christ is perfectly balanced in all 4 styles just as He is perfectly balanced in each of the 5 fold ministry gifts.
To become fully balanced like Christ we will have to intentionally seek out the styles & approaches where there is a lack individually or corporately. My best guess is that the majority of us will need to pursue more exposure to, & experience of, the Mystic (Symbol) approach. Most churches & Christian communities have readily recognisable rhythms of Word (head), Worship (emotion) & Works (kingdom projects or social action). Whilst they will embrace elements of Mystic (symbol) through the sacraments (communion, baptism, marriage etc) there likely remains a question as to the length, breadth & depth of provision in this realm.
Food for thought for us as individuals & as churches & communities!
The great & good news is that God is faithful to complete the good work He has started in us (Philippians 1:6).
The Lord starts that work in us as individuals & He hones & develops it through our interaction with His family – through church or Christian community. We can be confident He will complete the task to make us just like Jesus (Romans 8:29).
He will present us perfect in His good time (Jude 24-25).
Hallelujah!! What a Saviour.
- In what ways is my brand (style) of Christianity limiting all that Christ has for me?
- How open am I to seeking benefit & blessing from an unfamiliar spiritual style?
- Meditate on which styles & preferences your church or Christian community most strongly expresses.
A song related to this theme:
Thank you that You desire for me to grow up in all things unto Christ,
That You will complete Your good work in me to make me like Jesus.
Lord Jesus thank You that You are leading me & calling me to daily follow You.
Holy Spirit keep processing the change & transformation necessary to fully renew the image of God in me.
That I may know Father, Son & Spirit with greater passion & desire.
This I ask in, & through, Your mighty Name.