Week 1: An Invitation
Spiritual Practice: Get to Know Yourself
Spiritual formation is not a uniquely Christian phenomenon. We are all and always being formed in some way and in some direction, by the things we read and see and hear, by the relationships we are in, by the advertisements we are exposed to, by the people we encounter, by the tragedies or triumphs we experience. The thing about Christian spiritual formation is that there is a particular goal — being formed in the likeness of Jesus — as well as a particular transformative agent — the Holy Spirit — and also a particular context — you.
According to Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” But you aren’t. The thing about spiritual formation is that it isn’t just a bunch of information that you take in; it’s something that happens to you and in you. So it’s important to know who you are. John Calvin, the French Reformer, put it this way: “Without knowledge of self, there is no knowledge of God. … Without knowledge of God, there is no knowledge of self.”
The purpose of self-awareness is not just for self-improvement; it is the path to seeing and knowing God better. And vice versa: as we come to know God better, it ought to make us — we who are made in God’s image — more aware of ourselves, more aware of our calling as well as our sin, and more aware of how God has been — and continues to be — at work in us, around us, and through us.
Verses of the Week: Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.