I have heard the Master say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness watch and pray
Find in ME thine all in all
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin hath left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
…It has been another wonderful day with the Lord. It has been a lot of fun. I am reminded though, here in my quiet room, that what is fun to me ONLY comes without the rush of sin. Overeating, over-shopping, over-working, fornication, losing tempers, gossip, self pity/pouting, over-exercising—these can all become “addictions” where sin has dominion over people. The “spiritual formation” classes can offer no more help than any other human, secular class can offer help.
Why? It is because no human being can do the work of the Holy Spirit. God will not share His glory with another. If we are going to give up the sinful habit, we must go to Jesus to replace the sinful habit in order to survive. That is why it is called “abiding in the Vine”. He says we can bear no fruit apart from Him.
Repentance is the key, fleeing temptation…and living in victory. If a person is truly saved he or she knows when Jesus speaks to the heart through the Holy Spirit to say, “This is an area that is coming between us. I want you to COME TO ME and love Me MORE.” We think, “Well, You mean love You THAT much? You mean, NEED You THAT much? I would REALLY be WEAK and NEEDY for YOU ALL OF THE TIME if I were to give up these crutches of mine.”
Right. We would be broken vessels for His honor. He would get all of the glory and we would get none for our victory in such a state of neediness and child-like dependence on Him.
If the thought scares you, never fear–just go on to the "spiritual formation" classes and tip toe through the daisies (which you may be asked to draw or envision). You will be safe there in "church" with an "escape" from the pain of repentance and the work of fleeing sin and growing up (sort of like a drug addict is safe from his or her anxiety). The result will be nothing close to a true LONGING FOR JESUS. But, it will give you something to discuss with others at church! You might really feel "disciplined" when you don’t speak at the next "silent retreat"! It is fun and easy (and meaningless) compared to the real thing.
Believe me, if we leave our sinful habits and determine to not pick up another idol of the heart, we will GO TO THE LORD with no “spiritual formation” books needed. Anything apart from repentance is counterfeit.
My mother has spent the last two days in Bible study, making copies of her notes in her Bible for my brother and me to treasure forever. Huh, how did she know to “practice” such a “discipline” without “spiritual formation” classes? Answer: The Holy Spirit.
I am going to go and spend time in prayer now with Jesus getting all of the glory for my “spiritual formation”. For Jesus has changed my life, not a conference on "how to be spiritual".
The “spiritual” humanly contrived “formation” is nothing in comparison to the POWER of a witness for Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. A “witness” for Jesus can only be done by Him and not ourselves. He gets all of the glory, and we should apologize down on our knees to Him for running off to the idol of a silly “spiritual formation” class in comparison to knowing our Lord.
(To read full article go to LTW blog here)