I completed the book, “The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation” a few weeks ago. This book is absolutely a must-have for anyone who is a Christian! I would try to say for those who are pastoring or ministering but nope! LOL! Anyone who is a Christian need to read this book. It will help you with some in-depth ‘spiritual tillage’ for your life.
I honestly don’t know where to begin with this book because it has so much rich information and spiritual insight. It’s a book collaboration of several people who are a part of TACT group (Theological and Cultural Thinkers). The book is divided into two parts: the process elements of spiritual formation and the theological elements of spiritual formation. I think the biggest underlying message I loved about this book is the fact that spiritual formation is a lifelong journey.
I know when I first was introduced to Christianity, I was under the impression that life wouldn’t be so difficult. I knew I would still face obstacles and they could come to test my faith. But I kept thinking that I had to reach this certain spiritual pinnacle and I quickly learned that was not true. True transformation and formation takes a lifetime. I will never reach perfection, but I can reach great levels of maturity. Not to become haughty or prideful but to help continue to enlarge the Kingdom of God the way He intends.
This book checked me when it came to clarify spiritual disciplines. I will admit that because I was lead to believe that I earned ‘brownie points’ when I would pray a certain way, fast, lay prostrate for meditation, etc. No! These, along with plenty more, spiritual disciplines are not earning my way into greater favor with God. They help the continued spiritual formation, so I can mature and align my life with His Will. Just because I follow certain spiritual disciplines doesn’t mean I automatically should receive everything I want. And I think that’s where many people end up getting hurt by God because they though being a ‘good Christian’ will stop the really bad stuff from happening.
I know when we lost Charlotte to stillbirth, I really had to work on trusting God again. Because I just knew because we prayed, fasted, tithe, went to church, prayed for other people, etc. that nothing bad could possibly happen during our pregnancy. However, little did I know, it was really meant to prepare me to overcome that obstacle and be a testimony for others. Spiritual disciplines don’t necessarily change the course of God’s Will, but it can help you get ready to change for His Will. God does answer prayers, but the answers are according to His Will and timing. It’s easy to accept this truth when all is going well and nothing major is plucking her your heart strings. But then when something happens like the unexpected death of a child, you begin to wonder about what God is really trying to prove.
Therefore, spiritual disciplines are important to practice for the sake of growth and maturity not for the sake of looking good or being considered ‘holier’ than the rest. God doesn’t favor one person over another (Romans 2:11) because of someone practicing certain disciplines all the time. Real favor happens when we trust Him! Real breakthrough happens when we love Him and truly forgive others! Real blessings happen when we begin to produce the fruits of the spirit!
I recommend this book because it’s a great book to use for study time; personal or group. It has reflection questions at the end of each chapter, so it allows for engagement and application.