Philosopher Dallas Willard insists, “You have a spirit within you and it has been formed. It has taken on a specific character.”
Willard asserts there is something deep within us – something at the core of who we are – that motivates our action, drives our desires, and shapes the way we interact with the world. He argues that we are more than our biological responses and reflexes. We certainly have those. And they do exercise some power over our habits and routines. But, he maintains, there is something deeper, more powerful at our core.
And that, Willard argues, is our spirit. And our spirits have been formed.
Willard writes: “Spiritual formation… is the process by which the human spirit or will is given a definite ‘form’ or character. It is a process that happens to everyone. The most despicable as well as the most admirable of persons have had a spiritual formation.”
Everyone – from Mother Theresa to Mussolini – has been spiritually formed, has been affected deeply, at their core, by certain ideas and experiences and beliefs. That thing within us that drives our behavior and shapes our reactions – it’s not something we’ve created on our own; it’s something that’s been shaped and formed by others.
Our sermon series, A Story Worth Living, was intended to help us identify and explore the ideas and beliefs that have shaped us in significant ways, and give us space to ask together: How have we been formed?
It’s a question we hope you’ll keep asking.
How have you been formed? What ideas, what experiences, what people have shaped you? Do you know? Can you name them? What thinkers, heroes, books, and songs have formed you at the deepest levels?
Keep reflecting on how you’re being spiritually formed and how the Bible affirms, contradicts, and reshapes those voices that influence you. Perhaps you might revisit a sermon? Return to the book of Genesis? Or watch some of the videos our pastoral staff recorded (Facebook Live) in response to your questions?
If you’d like to learn more, we also encourage you to pick up a copy of Tim Keller’s recent book, Making Sense of God. It speaks thoughtfully and intelligently about the ideas and narratives that currently dominate our culture.
Our prayer is that this series will continue to give us the ability to better identify the narratives and scripts that have shaped us. And more importantly, help us determine if the story we are living is a story worth living.