It was May of 1990, I was 6 years old and we were living in Lisbon, Portugal because of my Dad’s job. The beach was a stones throw from our apartment window and everything was peaceful. Then my mom read me a children’s book that talked about heaven and hell. It talked about dying and where we go when we die. It talked about believing in Jesus. I grew up under the influence of Christian parents and was pretty well versed for a 6 year old in theology. I had begun to believe that God existed and that when I prayed to Him, He listened. This children’s book took me to a place where I hadn’t been before. It helped me understand the consequence of sin. So, after reading it I prayed for Jesus to be my Savior. I asked Him to forgive me of my sins and for Him to help me live a life that was obedient to and trusting of His direction.
I believe that every day since I have been trying to figure out the second have of that prayer. How do we live lives that are obedient and trusting of God’s direction? For that matter as I’ve grown my life has become more complex. There are segments of my life, areas that require my attention and development. My marriage, how I parent my daughters, my work, my personal development, my finances, my health, my emotions, my spiritual growth, my leadership growth, my financial stability, and my creative outlets. There are lots of areas of my life. Do all of them need to follow God’s direction or is it ok for my spiritual formation to be limited to Sunday mornings once a week?
I believe that Jesus called his followers in John 10:10 to a life that is abundant. If life is to be abundant it cannot be limited to one area or another. If Jesus speaks of the whole life, we must consider the whole life – every segment – when it comes to spiritual formation.
Author, Diane Chandler, attempts to address these questions in her book Christian Spiritual Formation. She would have the readers examine their entire life. Every area and surrender those to God for His glory, seeking His direction. She draws some remarkable conclusions and helps for the reader in terms of how to surrender each area of life.
Unfortunately, this particular book is so academic that it feels as if they are lecture notes copied and pasted into a book. It lacks a personal touch and is very hard to make it through. I would recommend some other resources in terms of spiritual disciples such as Richard Foster’s Celebration Of Discipline.
Regardless, the fact is that following Jesus and trying to live a life that is surrendered to Him is a contact act of obedience and risk. It is a complete giving of ourselves to our God for something greater. Blessings on your journey.