What’s Shaping Your Spiritual Life?

by Major Cherri Hobbins

All over the world, in this very moment, every person on the face of the entire earth is being formed spiritually. Do you believe this? It’s true!

Because of the way God created human beings with body, soul and spirit, every person in this and every moment is working on the formation of their spirit. Toddlers, middleschoolers, high schoolers and adults from 18 to 101-plus are all busy shaping and forming their spirits. Artists, Olympic athletes and weekend warriors, businesspeople, medical professionals, teachers, mercenaries and terrorists, religious people from all denominations and religions are all shaping and molding their spirits. Now, mind you, not every person is practicing Christian spiritual formation, but every person by their attitudes, actions and life choices is forming his or her spirit. It’s how you focus the formation of your spirit that will cause you to become known as anything from a terrorist to a saint.

I want to be formed as a saint!

The Apostle Paul provides a great roadmap for the those seeking to form their spirits toward Christlikeness.

For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [lead the lives of those native-born to the Light]. For the fruit (the effect, the product) of the Light or the Spirit [consists] in every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life. And try to learn [in your experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him]. (Ephesians 5:8–10; The Amplified Bible)

Look again at a critical statement in the text. The words are so simple we read them quickly. But the truth conveyed is profound. Paul says about our Christian spirit—once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

In Christ, the essence of your spirit has shifted. In Christ, your spirit is no longer dark. As you deeply live your life in Christ, you no longer allow yourself to be intellectually controlled by ignorance and falsehood or allow yourself to be morally controlled by evil. Instead, in the Lord, you are light. Your mission now is to allow God to shape your spirit through the study and application of His truths. It does not happen in an instant—God continually shapes our spirit over time.

We are now working with God so that we “Live as children of light.” Not just sometimes, but every moment of every day. It is not wishful thinking or “someday I’ll get around to living this way.” Paul is using an imperative here—he’s forcefully saying, do it!

Shaping your spirit toward godliness is responding to God’s call to actually be who He says you are. We allow God to call us out of darkness and into increasing light. We allow God to transform us moment by moment, decision by decision to take on His nature, which is Light.