What Is Spiritual Formation? Book Review Essay Sample

Published: 2022-08-30
What Is Spiritual Formation? Book Review Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Book review
Categories:  God Christianity
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1006 words
9 min read

In the book, Foundations of Spiritual Formation: A Community Approach to Becoming like Christ, the author Paul Pettit offers one of the best definitions;

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"Spiritual formation is the holistic work of God in a believer's life whereby systematic change renders the individual continually closer to the image and actions of Jesus Christ. And second, the change or transformation that occurs in the believer's life happens best in the context of authentic, Christian community and is oriented as service toward God and others."

The definition offered by Paul Pettit gives believers hope that God is still in control and that he works to ensure we are safe and protected. Personally, this definition gives Christians comfort knowing that God aims to mold them into the likeness of his only son Jesus Christ. Christians understand better that change occurs in spiritual formation hence we learn the various challenges in life and that these challenges make us stronger in Christ. Moreover, we understand through every challenge the work God is doing in us; hence, we should not be shaken. Additionally, our services to those around us should truly reveal our transformation and authenticity and to the service, we give others. Therefore, this type of growth experienced validates the spiritual formation process.

The Concept of Spiritual Formation: In relation to my own faith

The term "Spiritual Formation" is a completely new term despite being raised in the ways of church all my life. However, the introduction to this term has completely increased my personal awareness and my relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ. Moreover, this term is a revelation, has increased my personal awareness and my faith in Christ. However, as Christians, we often have expectations on how a true Christians should conduct themselves; therefore, this view has greatly distorted my walk in faith and in my heart.

As Christians, it often as a surprise by how much we pressure ourselves especially when we feel we have not matched God's expectations of us in our daily lives. Our view of the perfect Christian often interferes with our thinking hence when we sin, we often scrutinize our salvation and we end up feeling so low. Many are the times when I thought there was an end to sin through looking at the faith of other Christians and their walk in faith. Despite this belief being a misconception, I have struggled with it for a long period. During my walk in faith, the only comfort I have always had despite my failures is that God knows who I am and he sees through my heart. Despite my shortcomings, I still desire and dream to live an exemplary life and live more as Christ lived. I desire to live and experience God's promises and not on my way of life which is not perfect.

After learning the concept of spiritual formation and having an understanding that it is a process, I can overcome my mistakes knowing what I desire in my heart, which is being more like Christ since it is what matters in the sight of God. Moreover, I can clearly focus and see what God has done in my life and continues to do through believing and trusting in him. My walk in faith has changed and am not the way I was about ten years ago and I acknowledge there is another spiritual formation concept that I need to incorporate in my walk of faith, which is:

The Soul (heart & emotions)

Human emotions are deep within the soul hence it is an important feature. I have learnt that my relationship with God is hindered by an unhealthy emotional state of life. Therefore, God has showed me the things he plans to draw out of me since joining the seminary. God desires for me to properly know the feelings, my heart, and myself and live free of these emotions. This has made me learn to live learning the truth about myself, which is a painful process. Therefore, I now know the challenges I face, my pride, self-righteousness and the defensiveness. The Holy Spirit continues working in me despite allowing the pain I have suffered to take root in my heart and that is the beauty of the spiritual formation. According to the bible in Philippians 1:6, God states that the good work commenced in me he will completed.

The Plan

It is necessary I commit myself to the below declaration in order to incorporate the concept of the soul in spiritual formation;

  • For accountability, I need to build a strong relationship with the church.
  • Conduct a self-evaluation through prayer on a daily basis.
  • Use my blog to write and share the experiences I go through.
  • Seek second opinion from family and friends on their perspective of me.
  • Write a journal on the daily occurrences.

Conducting these on a daily basis will allow me to assess and evaluate myself thereby reducing the gaps and stretches in my life regarding self-awareness. Doing these, activities will surely help me and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I will succeed.

Word of Encouragement

It is important to trust God and the process when undertaking the journey through the seminary and without a doubt, God will show his great works. Moreover, staying open hearted is necessary to learn the teachings. Staying engaged through using the resources available at your disposal is essential and avoid isolation. Challenges will come your way but always know they exist to teach you a lesson and importantly stay connected to Jesus. The only way to notice the changes God does in your life is through being open. God will provide his support and strengthen you to continue with the journey. Do not forget the promises of God and constantly renew your mind. Pray daily to allow the Holy Spirit to work and dwell within you. Ask for God's favor, mercy, wisdom and understanding. Trust in God's promises for he is not a man to lie (Numbers 23:19).

Importantly know God is watching over you and you are not alone.

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