What sort of life did God the Father envision for us when He sent His Son Jesus into this world as the sacrifice for our sins? When Christ was hanging on the Cross, dying for our sins, what kind of transformation did He envision happening in a person’s life? When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in an individual what sort of change does He envision?
The answer to those questions is at the heart of what is called “spiritual formation.” What does the Triune God envision for us? He envisions a life that resembles the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived, died and rose again to reproduce in us the life that He lived while He was on this earth. Obviously there are aspects of Jesus’ life that we will never be or do because He was the God/Man. But the gift of eternal life He gives certainly includes the possibility of our genuinely becoming like Him.
The Apostle Paul saw the vision God has for humans. Writing to believers in Galatia he addressed them as, “my dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). His own personal testimony was, “For to me, to live is Christ…” (Philippians 1:21). His ministry goal among the Colossian believers was similar: “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ” (Colossians 1:28).
So the vision God has for us is that the interior life of His Son would be reproduced in us so that…
- We might depend on the Father as Jesus did
- We might worship the Father as Jesus did
- We might see other people the way Jesus did
- We might deal with temptation the way Jesus did
- We might cling to God’s Word as Jesus did
- We might humble ourselves as Jesus did
- We might handle suffering as Jesus did
It all starts with vision. If somehow we might catch the vision of the fabulous life God has in mind for us we are on our way to the genuine life of a follower of Christ.