Day 1: January 1, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Galatians 4:19
My children, I am again suffering labor pains for you until Christ is formed in you.

Romans 8:29
For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.

2 Corinthians 3:18
We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at a the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Introduction: Why Spiritual Disciplines? Formed, Conformed, and Transformed
by Roger Severino, Adult Discipleship Minister, Brentwood Campus

As you begin the New Year, have you made any resolutions that relate to your walk with Christ? How will you grow spiritually in the upcoming year? What is God’s best for you? Will it happen naturally, or will it require some intentionality on your part? The three verses above have a common theme that I believe will help answer these questions.

Each passage has the common Greek word “morph” which means being formed, conformed or transformed, depending on what prefix accompanies the root “morph.” These verses teach what I believe to be God’s intention for the life of a believer: to be formed, conformed and transformed more into the image of Christ.

This year we will be focusing on certain spiritual disciplines that can help you become more like Jesus. Now I know, any phrase that has the word “discipline” sounds like something to be avoided at all costs, even if needed. Perhaps it reminds you of the dental exam you dread, but know is necessary. These spiritual practices, however, should not be like that.

Basically, what we want to study this year are those habits that help us be the person God has called us to be. As one author has put it, it’s “the life you’ve always wanted.” What are those things that put us in a position to hear from God and experience Him in greater ways? What lifestyle and regimen will help you become the person you want to be, and God wants you to be?

During the next several weeks we will dig deeper into practices like Bible study, prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, silence and solitude, and learning. This is not simply a Bible Reading plan, but rather  a way to allow the Scriptures to introduce you to practices that have helped Christ followers through the ages become more like Jesus. Let me challenge you to be not only  “hearers” of these practices, but  also “doers.”

For example, consider the practice of fasting. Is this taught in the Bible—including the New Testament? Have you ever experimented with this practice? If you are physically and medically able, would you consider trying it and assessing whether or not there may be a spiritual benefit? For some of you, this may sound radical or frightening. But perhaps this is the year when you embrace the “hard things,” only to discover that they open up a new life of freedom and joy.

Praxis

  1. Reflecting on Galatians 4:19, how well is Christ being “formed in you”? What is God’s role in making this happen? What is your role?
  2. According to Romans 8:28-29, God’s purpose is to conform you to the image of His Son. What do you need to surrender to God to become more like Jesus?
  3. 2 Corinthians 3:18 reminds us that it is part of the Holy Spirit’s role to transform you into the image of the Lord. What do you know about the Holy Spirit? How will you surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to transform you today?
  4. Read Galatians 5:22-23. How well does your life line up with the “fruit” or evidence of the Spirit?

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.