Spiritual Formation

May 1, 2024 by Kimberly Orr, Publisher of The Upper Room

Train yourself in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

— 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NRSVUE)

The verse above is a good reminder of the central principle of spiritual formation: the sure and certain knowledge that we were born to enjoy a meaningful and engaging relationship with God. We become more fully human as we learn to reflect more vividly the image of God who created us. 

Models of spiritual formation can be found throughout scripture, including Jesus’ teachings on prayer and discipleship. The apostle Paul further emphasizes the importance of spiritual disciplines in his letters, such as in Colossians 3:16 where he writes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” 

Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can engage more faithfully in spiritual disciplines and begin to mirror the life of Christ. This transformation is not a one-time event but rather a lifelong process that requires perseverance, self-awareness, self-forgiveness, and discipline. 

Finally, spiritual formation is not just an individual pursuit but also a communal one. We are called to journey together in our faith, supporting and encouraging one another along the way. This can be seen in the early church’s emphasis on fellowship, worship, and breaking bread together. May we find renewed ways to bear one another’s burdens and to grow in grace for the sake of sharing the good news of Jesus with a hurting world.

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