Who Shapes Me?

Read: Romans 12:1-8

Do not be conformed to this world. (v. 2)

How hard do you fight against being conformed to the culture around you? Do you dream of owning the latest electronic device? Do you excuse your bad language by saying, “I hear it all the time”? Do you judge, not love? We adapt pretty easily to the way the world works. As Eugene Peterson puts it, we “become so well-adjusted” to our culture that we “fit into it without even thinking” (Rom. 12:2 MSG).

That is why the nitty-gritty work of spiritual formation is being conformed to the image of Christ; we are in a lifelong process of being made to be like Jesus. We are accustomed to being formed by the world; it is an everyday pressure. But being conformed to the lifestyle of Jesus is more difficult. We don’t want to be conformed; we fight to be in charge. In his book Invitation to a Journey, M. Robert Mulholland says we “don’t mind spiritual formation at all as long as [we] can be in control of it.”

But Paul tells us to fashion ourselves after the example of Christ. In my experience, this is a two-step process. First, we become open to the possibility that the Holy Spirit can shape and mold us to be like Jesus. We learn to act according to the standards, expectations, and values that Jesus lived under. Then we choose to fight against the outside pressures that are calling us away from this lifestyle. This is how we become conformed to the image of Jesus. —Karen Bables

As you pray, ask God to conform you to the image of Jesus.

About the Author

Karen Bables is the retired Spiritual Director of Christ Memorial Church in Holland, Michigan.

This entry is part 3 of 14 in the series Introduction to Spiritual Formation