Bo Prosser, CBF Coordinator for Missional Congregations, recalls Jesus’ spiritual formation through friends, family, mentors and experience — the same manner in which we all must be formed.
My colleague Rick Bennett got me thinking with his question, “How was Jesus formed spiritually?” Luke 2:52 states that Jesus experienced spiritual formation, “and Jesus increased in wisdom and in years and in divine and human favor.” But the question is “How?”
Jesus was not born fully knowing everything; he grew! And scripture affirms this! His parents were instruments of formation, as were His family and His friends at the Temple. Jesus’ prayer life and devotional life formed Him. His play time, His meal time, His rising up and lying down formed Him. As Jesus grew up, He was learning more and more about more and more. He grew wise and He grew healthy relationships.
The same is true for us. My parents have helped formed me. My family, especially my grandmother Nannie, helped form me. My life experiences, my devotional life and my friends have helped form me. Thanks be to God that we aren’t formed in a vacuum. Thanks be to God that we don’t have to do this forming alone.
I am a product of my relationships, my formal learning and all my life experiences, and so was Jesus! Jesus chose to grow. Sometimes I am reluctant to grow. Yet, even my reluctance is a forming experience. We grow and are formed through all the good and bad of life, when we are paying attention and when we are not, when we embrace formative experiences and when we do not.
I am grateful for the model that Jesus gives us to grow. I’m grateful for the relationships and experiences that have helped me grow. Yet, I still have much to learn and I still must be formed. I continue to work out my formation with fear and trembling. What about you?