On this blog, you have heard me say over and again that a spiritual life is a journey. Growing up in Christ takes effort, commitment, sacrifice, and diligence. On our part, Christian maturity is a work in progress. Consistent prayer, study, worship, and service are the components of a Christian life.
But there is, and always must be, a grace-filled side to Christian formation. Personally speaking, there was a large measure of grace in my spiritual development. From hardly ever going to church all the way to where I am now means that the Holy Spirit can and does move powerfully in our lives. (See this previous post: http://jimmyabbottsblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/sex-moneyprayer.html)
As this passage from Colossians says, as a church leader I continue to pray for everybody at St. Alban’s, regardless of how often they “come to Christian formation.” In the bounty of God’s providence, I expect God to do wonderful things despite our best efforts to thwart him. That is why the primary purpose of a Christian formation leader is not to teach, but to pray.
And finally, one can know the ins and outs of every little theological doctrine, and still not lead a life worthy of the Lord. The purpose of Christian formation is not to know about Christ, but to know Christ.
“We have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:9-10