Summary: As we spend time in the secret place of prayer – in solitude, silence, and soaking – we are transformed into the image of Jesus.
SPIRITUAL FORMATIONS #1: PURSUING INTIMACY WITH GOD
INTRO TO TOPIC: I believe the Lord is calling us to go deeper in the secret place.
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works.” (Rev. 2:4-5).
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:19-20).
• Whatever else we do in this season, let’s respond to the call of Jesus to the secret place.
QUOTE: “Tragically, precious little in this hurried and hassled age promotes such intimacy. We have become a body of people who look more like a herd of cattle on a stampede than a flock of God beside green pastures and still waters.” (Charles Swindoll, Intimacy with the Almighty).
“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8).
As a pastor, my heart echoes that of the Apostle Paul: “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19).
• I long to see you experience spiritual formations: growing spiritually!
• But more than that, God is wanting to form us into the image of His son, Jesus.
THE BIG IDEA: As we spend time in the secret place of prayer – in solitude, silence, and soaking – we are transformed into the image of Jesus.
TWO CATEGORIES OF SPIRITUAL FORMATIONS:
1. Engagement: intentionally doing things (prayer, Bible study, worship, etc)
2. Abstinence: refraining from doing things (fasting, silence, solitude, etc)
“(For my determined purpose is) that I may know Him – that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.” (Phil. 3:10, Amplified).
• It’s not just about growing spiritually, but also about knowing Him more:
• The point is this: Spiritual disciplines are like physical exercise:
“Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.” (1 Tim. 4:7b-8, NLT).
• If we want to have a healthy body that’s in shape, then we need to eat right and exercise.
• If we want to have healthy spirits, grow spiritually, then we need to train ourselves for spiritual fitness.
• John Ortberg says that “we don’t need to try harder, we need to train wiser.”
• You hear a preacher talk about the disciplines and you decide to ‘try harder’ and it works for a day or two. It’s not about your willpower, but about training yourself little by little.
• You don’t set out to run a marathon tomorrow! It takes time to develop and grow.