“Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself.” Tolstoy
The modern Church, by and large, has cast aside an emphasis on individual transformation in favor of the consumer model that tries to be everything to everyone. Deep relationship with God and the wrenching change that results are replaced with the busyness of classes, small groups, and activities. As a result, the people of God lack a substantial foundation on which to stand when challenges arise or the cross that the Christian is asked to bear becomes too heavy. It’s time for some serious soul work.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
The life in full that the Bible speaks of is not about stuff, money, having it easy, or being free from struggle. The life that the Bible describes is one of change; internal change as directed by the Spirit and external change as you become a cooperative friend of God in His work in the world. Our primary calling is to be lifelong disciples, sitting at the feet of our Teacher and freeing up our souls to his transformation. Sometimes it will be easy and other times painful and difficult but we will always be different people as a result. We will be people more in tune with God’s mission, better dialed in to walk into the darkness, and committed to completing the race laid out for us to run.
The spiritual disciplines are the means by which we become more attendant to God and our relationship with Him. They are methods of intentionally bringing ourselves to the feet of the master. Hearing the pastor read a passage once per week or even just reading the Bible once per day are not going to transform us. It takes work – Soul Work – and dedication to muscle through the pain and to push aside the fear to become what God intends for us to be. Anything less than that and we’re just trying to do it on our own. How’s that working out for you?
Deep calls to deep… (Psalm 42:7)
Image by Christ Bartnik