In a given week as I sit one on one with various leaders, I hear many stories of desolation and consolation. It’s always amazing to me how a string of spiritual direction sessions can be so varied. However, each story is a genuine reminder to me of how unique these individuals are in the sight of God.
Over the past week alone, I was struck by the choices being made that contribute to the “state of the soul” these companions are reflecting. Some choices were misguided and led to downfall, discouragement or disappointment. Other choices were spot on and highlighted faithfulness, perseverance and trust in the living God.
How is it that the choices we make are so often missed or disregarded when discerning movement toward or away from God? The spiritual formation process is often slow and imperceptible, and our choices can be blurred by the daily grind. But, our formation can also be the opposite, filled with visible and discernable transformation. When we are growing at a quickened pace and deepening our affections in alignment with a heart that longs for more of God, we indeed experience more obvious renewal from the inside out.
Those who study the history of the church have discovered that three elements are generally in place in seasons of genuine spiritual renewal: fervent study of God’s Word, concerted and united prayer, and a willingness to confess brokenness and dependence upon God. These three choices of the will are ones that each person alive today can make… and when we do, the choices of the heart will follow. This is often the time when we see individuals come alive in the love of Christ, filled to overflowing with the fullness of the Spirit.
What will you choose today? The options before you are numerous. Let me encourage you very simply: Choose life. Choose joy. Choose authenticity. Choose love. Choose forgiveness. Choose peace. These choices (and others like them) will undoubtedly lead you (back) toward God.
What choices have you made today that have affected your journey toward or away from God?
What small, daily choice do you make that no one really sees?
Stephen A. Macchia, D.Min., is the Founder and President of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (www.LeadershipTransformations.org); Director of the Pierce Center, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; Author of several books, including Crafting A Rule of Life (IVP) and Becoming A Healthy Church (Baker) and lives in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts.