“So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed
maturity in you.”(Romans 12:1-2 The Message)
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”(Romans 12:1-2 NKJ)
“The primary goal of spiritual life is human transformation” writes John Ortberg, “It is not making sure people know where they’re going after they die, or helping them have a richer interior life, or seeing that they have lots of information about the Bible, although these can be good things. Let’s put first things first. The first goal of spiritual life is the reclamation of the human race.
Not only that, but this goal can be pursued full-time. For a long time in my own life a very bad thing happened: I had reduced my ‘tools for spiritual growth’ to a few activities such as prayer and Bible study or a few periods of the day called a quiet time. I took an embarrassing long time to learn that every moment of my life is an opportunity to learn from God how to live like Jesus, how to live in the kingdom of God. I had to discover that there are practical, concrete ways to help me turn aside.”
“My children, with whom I am again in labor
until Christ is formed in you”(Galatians 4:19)
The Greek word for formed here is morphe Interestingly, there are two words in the Greek, which Paul could have utilized. One is schema and the other morphe Sometimes, if we understand the word(s) which the author chose not to use, we can better understand what they really meant, by choosing the word(s) they did.
First of all, schema signifies “external form” or “outer appearance.” Schema a molding on the outside that doesn’t transform the inside. This is not the word Paul chose to use. He was not looking for an outer appearance of Christ or even an external formation to Christ. Paul chose the word morphe for his emphasis on Christ being formed. Morphe refer to “an internal reality.” Morphe is a molding on the inside that transforms the outside. “Morphe speaks of a change in character, becoming conformed to the character of Christ in actuality, not merely in semblance.”
What are some elements of Christianity that can easily become schema (outward form without inward reality)?
Are there certain patterns & practices (spiritual disciplines like prayer, Scripture, etc) that you are currently doing because you “should,” but if honest would admit that they aren’t morphe (producing life within you)?
What are some ways you can participate in the patterns & practices helpful for spiritual formation, all the while, maintaining a morphe perspective, and not allowing them to become mere schematic route?