Article by Faith Cassim, Churches, Chanels of Hope Facilitator Training, October 2012
“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called." (Eph.4:1)
By: Faith Cassim
To fulfil the high calling which God has placed upon us in creating us and redeeming us, we must have the right inner substance or character. We must come to grips with who we really are, inside and out. For we will do what we are. So we will need to become the kind of people who routinely and easily walk in the goodness and power of Jesus our Master. For this, a process of "spiritual formation"—really, transformation—is required.
I was one of the very blessed participants by the grace of almighty God, to attend the “Channels of Hope” workshop in Heidelberg with the focused on HIV/AIDS! I came out humbled! When I came back to the office I presented at our feedback meeting. I shared with the team how this workshop made me realize that I still have a long way to go as a child of God in being transformed, to be fully equipped to facilitate transformation in the lives of others! Spiritual formation for the Christian is a Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self –our "spiritual" side—in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself. In the degree to which such a spiritual transformation to inner Christlikeness is successful. The outer life of the individual will become a natural expression or outflow of the character and teachings of Jesus.
This has been a week of learning the true importance of drawing people unto Christ. What stood out for me clearly for me as an individual was the emotional and psychological pain WE sometimes as the body of Christ inflicts on Gods people and how much it grieves God! Christlikeness of the inner being is not a merely human attainment. It is, finally, a gift of grace.
Nevertheless, well-informed human effort is indispensable. Spiritual formation in Christ is not a passive process. Grace does not make us passive. Divine grace is God acting in our lives to accomplish what we cannot do on our own. It informs our being and actions and makes them effective in the wisdom and power of God. Hence, grace is not opposed to effort (in actions) but to earning (an attitude) and that’s what we (the body of Christ) really need to serve in this utmost important HIV field.
May we never forget that it is "By the grace of God that we serve in this area and he has called us for a time such as this. The supernatural outcome that accompanies grace-full actions should stand out at all times. Spiritual formation in Christ is the way of rest for the weary and over-loaded, of the easy yoke and the light burden (Matt. 11:28-30), of cleaning the inside of the cup and the dish (Matt. 23:26), of the good tree that cannot bear bad fruit (Luke 6:43). It is the path along which God’s commandments are found not to be "heavy." (1 John 5:3)
Christian spiritual transformation in the various dimensions of the human being, need to be clear about the general pattern that all effective efforts toward personal transformation, not just Christian spiritual formation—must follow. Because we are active participants in the process, and because what we do or do not do makes a huge difference. Our efforts must be based on understanding. Jesus indeed said that without him we can do nothing. (John 15:5) But we can also be sure that if we do nothing it will be without him. So he commands us to "abide in the Vine." (15:1-7). Often it is so important to Christians to speak the truth (according to our perceptions) when we deal with HIV… but do we do so in love drawing all men unto Christ? This seems to be an area where the church needs healing. We must find a way to do that. Christ died for all of us including our HIV infected brothers and sisters!
“Since we stand before so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, with our eyes set on Jesus, who initiated our faith and will bring it to perfection."
"There is no good tree which produces bad fruit….
The good man out of the good stored up in his heart, brings forth what is good."