Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Is Christ Growing Within You?

Window in our house in East Lansing, MI

Spiritual formation is: the ongoing process of Christ forming himself in our heart (spirit); the ever-increasing heart-morphing into Christlikeness. Galatians 4:19 is a key verse here. It reads: My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,...

I like how
Renovare's Life With God Bible expresses the meaning of this verse and the nature of spiritual formation.

"A hallmark verse for spiritual formation, Gal. 4:19 provides an image of the process of growth for Christians. In this picture it is Christ who is growing in us, rather than we who are growing in Christ. Christ is formed in us by the power of the Holy Spirit as we respond to his ever-present grace in our lives. This occurs in daily, ordinary life as we "practice the presence of God" in our work, our play, our relationships, and all of life."  
The core question, then, is not "Are you growing spiritually?" Instead, it is "Is Christ growing within you?" The first question puts the emphasis on us and our responsibility to grow spiritually. But we cannot do this alone. This question can cause us to strive and "try harder." The second question implies that Christ can change us as we are connected to him, the Head of the body.
Abide in him and he will change you from the inside out.