What Is This “Spiritual Formation Through Contemplation” Business All About Exactly?

Good morning.

So, this week I’ll be sharing the third message in our series titled, “Spiritual Formation through Contemplation.

As you read those words you’re probably still wondering: “What exactly is that?

Well, in a word, it is, “discipleship.” … that’s all.

And one simple way to describe discipleship is this: We spend time with Jesus, and so we become more like Jesus, and so we begin to live like Jesus.

So, contemplation is… spending time with Jesus.

And, spiritual formation is… becoming more like Jesus.

And the outcome of spiritual formation through contemplation is… beginning to live like Jesus.

So that’s it in a nutshell: spending time with Jesus, becoming more like Jesus, beginning to live like Jesus.

And that’s really all we’re on about in this series.

The other day someone I was talking to said they don’t really like the word, “contemplation” and they suggested that we just call it, “going deeper.

I’m totally fine with that.

If you want to call it “going deeper”, go for it – because that’s precisely what discipleship it’s about.

Another way to describe “discipleship” is with the word “apprenticeship

Just as a a young person apprentices herself to, say, a carpenter, Christians likewise apprentice themselves to Jesus. Which simply equates to: spending time with Jesus, becoming like Jesus, living like Jesus.

So, I really want to encourage you to not be put off by the terminology of, “Spiritual Formation through Contemplation.

If you prefer, rather refer to this series as, “Becoming like Jesus by Spending Time with Jesus.

Or, as mentioned above, you can refer to it even more simply as: “Going Deeper.

Now, just as an aside (but an important clarification) – this has nothing whatsoever to do with earning your salvation. Salvation is a free gift from God, of course. Instead, what it does have to do with is working out your salvation (see Philippians 2:12). In other words – being saved, we are called to maturity. For example, read Hebrews 6:1-12.

I hope that clarifies things a bit!

This week we’ll be considering the role of silence and solitude in the process of spending time with Jesus and we’ll look at Elijah’s experience in 1 Kings 19 as an illustration. Verse 12 in the NRSV says – “sound of sheer silence” (not “still small voice” as per NIV) – ponder that!

See ya Sunday!

YBIC, Ps. Craig