Friday, September 12, 2014

Spiritual Transformation - I Can't Self-Transform

New York City
When I present my phenomenology of spiritual formation and transformation I say that, when I see transformed persons, they have had a revelation of their utter inability to self-transform into Christlikeness. "I cannot change myself" is the cry of a person on the brink of metamorphosis.

Ruth Haley Barton writes:

"Lest we are tempted to view this as a glorified self-help project or an occasion for more activism, it is important for us to embrace spiritual transformation as a process that is full of mystery. It is a phenomenon that is outside the range of what human beings can accomplish on their own. It can only be grasped and experienced through divine intervention. God is the one who initiates and guides the process and brings it to fruition." (Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry, p. 16)

I cannot self-help myself into increasing Christlikeness. To think I can is to minimize who Christ is. But God can change me. Therefore I must understand what it is to dwell in God's presence, to "walk" with Christ (using the Johannine metaphor), and to actively abide in Christ.