Last week, Jamin Goggin, Saddleback Church’s pastor of spiritual formation, launched their first in a series of Conversations in Spiritual Formation at Saddleback’s Rancho Capistrano retreat. Kyle Strobel, author of Formed for the Glory of God, shared on the theme, “Discovering the Life of Grace.” I appreciated his insight that grace is far more than mere forgiveness, but is God’s gift of God’s own self in Jesus Christ to us. I found Kyle’s insights helpful in so many very personal ways. In gratitude I am sharing my notes in three installments here.
As always, when I share notes from a presentation, my standard disclaimer is that these are insights that I gained from listening to Kyle. They are sometimes his exact words or quotations. They are sometimes my own words or reflections on what he shared. So, don’t assume I’ve transcribed his presentation. And these notes are lightly edited, so bear with possible typos or grammatical goofs. I’ll take responsibility for any way in which I might have misunderstood him. With that in mind, I pray these notes will help you in your own journey of entering into the life of God’s grace.
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(Read Part Two)
Abiding is relationship. This pushes against the self- help mechanisms of our culture.
Jesus primary identity was Son. Jesus’s life is an image of abiding in loving relationship with the Father
that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:21, 23, 26 NIV)
We participate in Jesus’ relationship with the Father. The Christian life is a continual abiding in relationship.
Do we have the status of children without enjoying the life of being God’s child?
We receive a posture of embracing the Father.
Spiritual disciplines can turn into another mechanism. Spiritual disciplines are a means of noticing and enjoying grace. They are a posture we take before God. All the postures we take before God are meant to be a mutual embrace.
This postures before God involve:
1. Embracing the life of God in grace. We allow ourselves to be aware of idols we are tempted to embrace instead. We are caught up into the life of God. This is more than self-help.
2. Abiding by living our lives with God. We accept that we are partakers of the divine nature.
3. Anticipating: We realize that there is still an element of “not yet” in our experience of God’s full presence. This is not yet the new heaven and new earth of full realization.
This is a season of faith and hope. These become sight in heaven. Only love is eternal.
The truth of who we actually are surfaces when we come into the Presence. We must embrace and acknowledge our God given strengths.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NIV)
Beauty, affection, and love are the atmosphere in which we engage God.
Regimens (stage and situation of life specific) and rhythms (regular practices like meditation and contemplation) can help us live this life of grace.
Are we trying to conquer our sins for God and before we can be in God’s presence, or are we learning to be with God in the midst of our struggles and stumbles?
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