“Holy habits deepen into fixed patterns of life. We experience a growing preponderance of right actions flowing from a right heart” (Richard Foster in Streams of Living Water).
This powerful quote from a major figure in the revival of the concept of spiritual formation teaches us that when we are focused on the transformation of our own lives, we can also transform the world around us. This post is the fourth in a series devoted to transforming our inner selves in 2019 through simple spiritual practices.
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The world is becoming more chaotic every day. The leadership of the United States is the most amoral, the most selfish, and consistently the most hateful it has ever been. How will this end? How can it change? What can we do?
The only thing we can do is to offer our transformed lives to a world that needs transformation. And if we are to offer transformed lives, we must become transformed people. We can’t offer fixes or policies or programs unless we are filled with God’s vision for his world and his people. That means we must see the world as God’s world and everything and everyone in it as God’s Creation. We must carry a big picture view of the Kingdom on earth and the Kingdom still to come. We must be overwhelmed by God’s love, be directed by the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and be energized and informed by the life Christ lived on this earth.
The work in today’s world requires Christians of deep faith and deep willingness to grow into the deep and full relationship to which God calls us. We must devote our lives to training to become more like Jesus. For many, the practice of spiritual disciplines is the way to take on the likeness of Jesus.
The task of living in the world as a Christ-follower is not an easy task, which is why so few who call themselves Christians accept it. Richard Rohr has a warning for us:
“It is not an enviable position, this Christian thing. Following Jesus is a vocation to share the fate of God for the life of the world. . . . This has little to do with believing the right things about God—beyond the fact that God is love. Those who agree to carry and love what God loves, both the good and the bad, and to pay the price for its reconciliation within themselves—these are the followers of Jesus Christ.
They are the leaven, the salt, the remnant, the mustard seed that God uses to transform the world. The cross, then, is a very dramatic image of what it takes to be usable for God. It does not mean you are going to heaven and others are not; rather, it means you have already entered heaven and thus can see things in a transcendent, whole, and healing way now” (Daily Meditation, January 25, 2018).
Are you becoming someone God can use to transform the world?