Today will be the last post for the “set up” of what will follow. Thus far we’ve been building a foundation for your spiritual formation journey.
So let’s begin with the heart! Heart? Yup! It’s crucial in understanding spiritual formation – in my opinion, your mileage may vary.
Today we’ll lean heavily on Henri Nouwen (again, I may not subscribe to all his teachings…). In the book Spiritual Formation – Following the Movements of The Spirit, he says this:
“Spiritual Formation, I have come to believe, is not about steps or stages on the way to perfection. It’s about the movements from the mind to the heart through prayer in it’s many forms that reunite us with God, each other, and our truest selves.”
So if you’ve ever wondered why scripture talks so much about the heart – you were spot on in questioning. The heart in scripture played a much different role to early followers than we do today.
I think Nouwen captures this thought well when he states:
“The word heart is used here in its full biblical meaning of that place where body, soul, and spirit come together as one.”
“But the word heart in Jewish-Christian tradition refers to the source of all physical, emotional, intellectual, volitional, and moral energies.”
Perhaps this is why the heart is mentioned so much when God is encouraging us to focus on Him. Maybe that’s why we’re told to guard our heart. It’s important.
So our journey into spiritual formation will be one of head and heart.
If you want to go REALLY deep into a word study on the heart in scripture then check it out here.
As we move along, know that there are no hierarchical steps to take when it comes to spiritual formation. So when we begin to discuss the spiritual disciplines, view them as tools in your spiritual formation toolbox. While all will be helpful, some may work better for you than others. But also understand those that are hard may be the ones you’ll eventually come to love – if you practice it long enough to embrace it. So as we move forward, you may want to reconsider some you’ve tried in the past but discarded. If you’ve never practiced any, it’s OK! I’ll soon be teaching you!
OK, I know I’ve probably left you in a fog but stay with me as move forward. The road we’re about to travel could become a game changer, one that you’ll embrace for a lifetime – stay tuned!