Introduction to The Practice of The Word
Our theme is “A Year (a Life) of Spiritual (Trans)Formation” – are you committed to this? How are you doing regarding Support & Accountability relationships? Are you praying… and linking up?
What is our highest value in being God’s Beloved? It is intimacy in relationship with Jesus (“Come, follow Me…”). And what is our highest priority & practice to grow this intimacy in following Jesus daily? It’s the discipline of The Word of God.
WHY the Word? WHAT is the Word of God? And HOW do we practice this discipline? These are the questions I will address in this teaching on our first priority and practice.
WHAT is “The Word of God”? WHY practice The Word?
Evangelicals think it’s the Bible, but it’s more than that.
The Word is essentially God’s self-revelation. And that self-revelation is Jesus. He is seen as the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit is the Breath of God: Psalm 33:6, “By the word of YHWH the heavens were made, and the starry host by the breath of his mouth.”
God is revealed through creation – his Word to humanity – called general revelation.
God is revealed in history via Israel – the Old Testament – called specific revelation.
God is revealed in Jesus of Nazareth – the New Testament – called full-filled revelation. As John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and was God. And that Word became flesh and dwelt among us (in Jesus of Nazareth)… he who is the in bosom of the Father has revealed God to us” (John 1:1,14,18). Continue reading Following Jesus by Practicing The Word – Part One
Recap and Introduction
How does God change us into being his Beloved? By his Spirit-Life in us (God’s grace) that works with our faith responses – itself a work of grace – via spiritual practices (our effort). The regular practice of spiritual disciplines is not easy. The devil tricks and traps us to stop us doing them. Our own biggest ‘enemy’ is lifestyle. WE choose our lifestyles, no matter how we explain or excuse it. We are as busy as WE choose! The bottom line is: WE are responsible for our own spiritual growth, no one else. But we can’t do it on our own. We need each other in supportive accountability. Remember “The Golden Triangle of Transformation”? I added “community accountability” to Dallas Willard’s diagram: the Spirit transforms us into Christ’s mind and character via our planned and unplanned disciplines, as we experience and practice them in supportive community.
Proposal for Support & Accountability
I want to cite two examples of being very intentional about one’s spiritual formation and growth. John Wesley and his “Holy Clubs” met weekly for prayer and self-examination, bible study and charity work – up to 15 people per group, later called “Classes”. When they met they asked each other: “how is it with your soul?” They kept each other accountable to the “methods”(spiritual practices) of growth. That is why they became “Methodists”. Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox developed the practice of “spiritual direction”, and also “spiritual companions”. The latter was for mutual care and accountability in their spiritual formation. Continue reading Community Accountability and Support in Spiritual Practices