Five spiritual cues help develop our relationship with God

| March 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Capt.) Mark McCorkle
84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

McCorkle

McCorkle

Thinking spiritually in the Army today can be a real challenge and must be tackled intentionally.

Kenneth Boa’s book, “Conformed to His Image,” is an approach to spiritual formation that is one of the best interpretations in academia today.

Relational spirituality. The first topic Boa explores is relational spirituality. To love others, we must first love God, the giver of love, who in turn teaches us how to love ourselves correctly.

Paradigm spirituality. Just as the name implies, paradigm spirituality means a shift in viewpoint needs to be taken. This process cultivates an eternal versus a temporal perspective of life.

When we have an understanding that things do not really last for the long term, we begin to focus on that which really does last. Some examples of what is lasting are relationships, love, giving, serving and devotion.

Also, our everyday life can be transferred from the seen way of understanding to the unseen — faith, love, service, devotion and commitment — producing appreciation of the true value of present-day life and the opportunities life holds.

Disciplined spirituality. “True value” is best experienced through what Boa calls disciplined spirituality, which may just be a fancy way of categorizing prayer, reading, journaling, fasting, meditation, solitude, confession, fellowship, submission, sacrifice, worship, service and witnessing. I am continually challenged to balance the time I have with these disciplines.

This challenge may never go away, but we must never give up in remembering and practicing them — no matter what season of life we are in.

Exchanged life spirituality. Another heavy title, exchanged life spirituality refers to understanding our true identity with God as being an exchange of an old life and a way of thinking to a new one God gives us. This exchange reminds me of a time when I thought all was going downhill and no answer was in sight. I would turn to practicing one or more of the disciplines mentioned above, and “poof,” I would get an understanding that I did not have before.

Some questions we all face and seek answers to include these: Why do we do what we do? How do I understand love, gratitude and rewards in view of being motivated to thrive in this life? How can I learn to appreciate my identity, my purpose and the hope I have in understanding and longing for God?

Most of the time these questions call for some type of an exchange in thinking and prove that we are learning beings. We are not fully arrived on every subject, but open to grow. The result is, falling in love with God.

This result happens best when our image of God is correct according to his word, when we establish a habit of meditating on him, when we develop our relationship with him and when we read through his word. These all have been most powerful to me because they remind me how limited I am without God.

Holistic spirituality. Now we turn to holistic spirituality, which is allowing Jesus to be the center of all I do — completely integrating him into my life, into my decisions and conduct. Holistic spirituality relates to relationships, work and society, reflecting stewardship and purpose.

Have you ever heard of “process versus product,” or have you heard of being who you are versus doing something you think God likes? These thoughts are the essence of acceptance.

God’s acceptance does not come from doing something God likes; it does not come from good works. Acceptance comes from being who God likes: the person he created for a lifelong, dynamic relationship with him.

There is plenty of “doing to be done.” But only you can be you, and you are who God loves.

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News

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