“Spirituality wrongly understood or pursued is a major source of human misery and rebelling against God.”
So says Dallas Willard, a bloke who knows a bit about this stuff.
This Sunday we begin to look at some of the distinctives we believe God wants us to pursue as QBC and the first is a genuine and passionate personal spirituality.
I hesitate to use the word ‘passionate’ because it can sometimes conjure up images of a post-conversion euphoria that seems to so often be our only way of describing what ‘close to God’ looks like.
I think its dangerous we hold that up as a picture of spiritual life as it simply isn’t sustainable. Its the equivalent of ‘falling in love’, a wonderful experience while it lasts but sooner or later we have to get married and face the challenges that go with a maturing relationship.
When we think of a genuine and passionate spirituality I am thinking of how we live in relationship with God in such a way that it changes us and it changes the world around us.
On Sunday we will be looking at how we train ourselves in godliness and how we can be confident of a healthy growing relationship rather than a stagnant disappointing experience of God.
Willard says “Unfortunately, we often think that being a Christian is about trying hard to be like Jesus. Spiritual transformation is not a matter of trying harder, but of training wisely (1 Tim.4:7-8). A lot of Christians ‘try’ hard to be like Jesus and then either ‘fake it’ (act like they’re doing okay)) or they give up (‘I’m not perfect just forgiven’).”
He goes on to say “Authentic transformation really is possible if we’re willing to do one thing: arrange our life around the kind of practices Jesus engaged in to receive power from the Father.”
When I think of what I’d like to see in 12 months time its a bunch of people in whom ‘Christ has been formed’ (to use Paul’s words) in a substantial and significant way – a bunch of people who aren’t content to simply ‘turn up on Sunday’, but people who have chosen to take action to grow their own relationship with God.