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Dan Wilt: The Power of Spiritual Formation

spiritual formation practices

One grave misunderstanding about spiritual formation is that it is focused solely on, primarily on, the toning of the bedrock of our inner, hidden life. But what is true is that what you see on the surface of a person, on the surface of you, speaks of what is happening in the holy deeps. One shift beneath the surface—will completely change the entire landscape. Spiritual formation practices are life formation; a reshaping of our inner and outer ways that is compelled and precipitated by unseen movements deep within the soul.

It Goes Both Ways

Yet there is an outer influence on our hearts as well, as the inner and outer life are continually erupting into, shaping and forming, one another.

Spiritual formation practices are about leveraging rhythms, habits and holy ideas, as well as perceiving our growth and health in fresh ways, that integrates the whole of a person (seen and unseen) in a comprehensive manner.

In other words, our inner life affects our outer life. Our outer life affects our inner life. When we curate both, we are on our way to becoming whole in Christ.

Spiritual formation practices, like the Daily Examen, are about enriching the quality of our human experience by refocusing our inner lives—our thoughts, our attitudes, our affections—and simultaneously altering our outer habits and patterns to nurture that desired hidden wholeness.

When our heart begins to heal from the toxic shock of believing lies that we are unloved, unloveable and useless, the Holy Spirit exposes the secret drives upon which our outer activities and attitudes have been built.

A commitment to spiritual formation practices is a commitment to becoming who you really are—as Christ knows you to be.

When the Plates Move

In other words, there is no part of life that a personal commitment to spiritual formation does not shift beneath the surface.

As a tectonic plate shifts the visible landscape, so too spiritual formation practices catalyze movement and reformation in our outward patterns. The result? We become healthier in a holistic and all-encompassing way.

The result is that we become more connected and integrated souls—with shalom peace guiding both the visible and invisible us.

“But we all, with unveiled face, 
beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, 
are being transformed into the same image 
from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18

Perfection will never be the goal, but wholeness in Christ—that is worth shifting for.

This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

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Dan Wilt, M.Min. is an artist, author, musician, educator, songwriter, communicator, and spiritual life writer. With 20+ years in the Vineyard family of churches, he serves in various ways to further a “New Creation” centered vision of the Christian life through media.