Spiritual formation is central to the mission of our Anchor City community. There are so many forces in this world — both internal and external — that would pull our heart & character away from Jesus. As Dallas Willard wisely observes:
Everyone receives spiritual formation, just as everyone gets an education. The only question is whether it is a good one or a bad one. We need to take a conscious, intentional hand in the developmental process.
We may not be able to become the people God dreams of us becoming directly or overnight, but that doesn’t mean we should give up. There are disciplines in which we can engage daily — often small things — that, over time, will enable us to achieve our goals as we work in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Most of us couldn’t just dash out the front door right now and complete a marathon. But, if we trained daily and with sincere commitment, running a marathon becomes possible.
Renovaré offers a helpful list of spiritual disciplines here. They remind us, “Disciplines do not earn us favor with God or measure spiritual success. They are exercises which equip us to live fully and freely in the present reality of God – and God works with us, giving us grace as we learn and grow.”
Jesus tells His disciples in Mark 10:35-45 that the path to greatness in the Kingdom of God is through the discipline of service.
The spiritual discipline of service can be defined as:
The many little deaths of going beyond ourselves which produces in us the virtue of humility.
If we engaged in humble acts of service daily — not because we have to but because we get to — how would it shape us to love God and love others over time? How does having a genuinely humble character reflect the greatness of God? How would generosity and a ready willingness to serve others impact our ability to love others?
For further growth, download and read The Discipline of Service, from Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. This classic work offers much insight into understanding service as a key spiritual discipline, particularly the difference between self-righteous service (and the damage it causes) and true Christian service (and its wide-reaching benefits).
2 thoughts on “Spiritual Formation: Service”
I recently read Willard’s “The Great Omission,” and I’m currently re-reading Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline.” Great books both. I must confess that in my youth I thought Foster was just another “legalist” but now I can finally appreciate the wisdom he shares. Thanks for your post,
Thanks for the note! Yes, Willard has been a deep source of guidance and wisdom for our church community. I also have come to a newfound appreciation for Foster’s work — I might characterize my journey with his work as: Christians are supposed to do these disciplines • I don’t have to do these • I want to commit my ways to Jesus more & more by allowing these small disciplines to shape me over time.