We take apprenticeship to Jesus very seriously and we know that there are means to living this life. We want to learn and engage in these means, which we call spiritual disciplines. We regularly learn new tools to help us on our journey. We learn different prayer practices and spiritual disciplines on Sundays. Sometimes we equate spiritual growth with growing in knowledge or information about God. Knowing about God is good but it is not the same as knowing God. In fact, the Biblical definition for “knowledge” is almost always “interactive relationship.” Authentic spiritual formation/transformation is a process, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, where we are conformed into the image of Christ.
As we begin to talk about the curriculum and practices for Spiritual Transformation, it is very easy to settle into a sort of “legalism”. We need to realize that as Dallas Willard says, “Grace is not opposed to effort.” One needs to make an intentional decision to obey and trust that a new abundant life is possible. In combination with the Holy Spirit (John 3:5; Romans 8:10-13; Galatians 5:22-26); Ordinary events of Life (James 1:23-4; Romans 5:1-5) and Personal effort or Discipline (Colossians 3:12-17; 2 Peter 1:5-10) our lives can begin to be transformed. It’s not out of legalism that we need to put forth effort but out of a desire to know Christ more and Knowing in a biblical sense always means obedience and knowledge through experience (Philippians 2:12-13; 3:10-14). Spiritual disciplines and practices are not a prescription but they allow us to be available for more of God’s grace in our lives. God is always present we just are not always available.