Who doesn’t love a delicious chocolate chip cookie? A cookie recipe is simple, but there are so many ways to spice it up or add your own touches. You can add oatmeal, use almond or whole wheat flour instead of white flour, add extra flour, add nuts or M&Ms, add peanut butter, etc.
Below I’ve listed out what I believe to be five essential ingredients to put us on the journey toward transformation, healing, and wholeness. It’s not a formula, it’s more like a recipe. It's basic and will get you some solid chocolate chip cookies, but like a good baker, you can add, tweak, or adjust it as you go.
Over the next several weeks, I’m going to break down all of these ingredients and share personal stories of how they have contributed to my own transformation.
Journey toward transformation, healing, and wholeness
Spiritual Disciplines, Practices, Rhythmswhich allows for the
Presence, Power, and Working of the Triune God
Let me give you a brief description of the components above and I’ll expand as we go.
Vision: We have to know that transformation is possible and have an idea of where we are headed. If we don’t believe it is possible, we will be stuck. I think we get this vision primarily from scripture, teaching, and testimonies of those that have actually experienced the transformation we desire.
Awareness: This is actually the most painful step, and I also think it takes the most effort. We have to be intentional if we want to uncover our beliefs, longings, desires, habits, wounds, unforgiveness, voices, roots, etc. The power of awareness is that becoming aware of these things allows God to transform them. It puts them in the light and exposes them. If we don’t put any effort here, God doesn’t have much to work with.
Spiritual Disciplines, Practices, Rhythms(which allows for #4): Whatever label you put on these, this is another primary place for us to put our effort. The important thing to realize is that the disciplines themselves don’t transform us, but what they do is create space for Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit to move, speak, and transform. I like the metaphor of a sailboat. Spiritual disciplines are like putting up the sail on the sailboat, that is what you can do and where you put the effort, but you can’t control the wind. But if you don’t put up the sail, if you don't create the space to commune with God and allow him to work, there is no chance for the wind to move you where you want to go. Our role is to put up the sail and create the space.
Presence, Power, and Working of the Triune God: The definition of grace that I’ll be working from is: God working in our lives to accomplish what we can’t on our own. Is it “unmerited favor”? Yes! But it’s much more than that! We often associate grace only with salvation and forgiveness and don’t think about it in reference to daily life. So in this context, the spiritual disciplines are what create the space for God’s grace to flow. His presence and power are what transform us, not the disciplines themselves.
Mutual Known-ness: There is so much power in being known. I first experienced this my freshman year of college when a guest speaker came into our dorm and did a talk on sex, lust, and all that fun stuff. This was a Christian college. After that, we all went back into the halls of our dorm and started confessing sexual sin, stuff that we had kept hidden our entire lives. After that night, five of us met weekly for ten years as an accountability group and we still do trips together with our families. I can’t tell you how much transformation has taken place because of those friendships, it is honestly too great to measure. We knew each other deeply. We knew sins, habits, weaknesses, strengths, blind spots, etc., and we still loved and accepted one another. When you are deeply known and still loved, just that love and acceptance will bring a measure of transformation. It gives you an experience of God’s affection for you. Then you add in some accountability and some loving challenge into a trusted relationship like this, and it’s amazing what kind of fruit will come from it.
I know that was fast and a lot, but like Nacho Libre says, over the next few weeks we will get down to the “Nitty Gritty”.
Two things to note:
I want you to notice from these five components that we put our effort into the green ones: Awareness, Spiritual Disciplines, and Mutual Known-ness. This is our role, our part to play, on this journey toward transformation, healing, and wholeness.
Do not get overwhelmed by all five!!! One starting point is to think about which of the five you are weakest on and start there rather than trying to pursue all five at one time. I will be going into more detail over the next few weeks with practical steps to take within each component.
Experiments for this week:
Take 15 minutes and write out on a piece of paper the five ingredients I laid out above. Under each one, write out how you have experienced that in your life or what questions you have.
In regard to vision, what kind of vision for transformation does Jesus or Paul give us? Do any passages or scriptures come to mind? Write those down and talk to the Lord about them.
Are these ingredients helpful? I would love to hear from you!