The process of spiritual formation, the internal transformation of souls, is a life-long pursuit for Christians and can be a difficult and confusing journey. As with any journey, we need to know two key things: where we are and where we are going. If we do not know where we are now, it may be impossible to find our way to our destination. If we do not really know where we are going, then any progress we make will likely be haphazard and could just as easily move us farther away as move us closer to our end point.
For our spiritual journey, knowing where we are now is largely a matter of knowing who we are and, to a lesser extent, knowing how we got to be where we are. I earlier wrote about knowing ourselves and the importance of being known.
Knowing where we are going, is not really very hard, but it is something many of us either don’t think about or assume some generic, vanilla version of christian maturity. But the reality is that each of us carries within us a God-given spiritual longing.
I recently had occasion to contemplate my destination. The Lord pointed me to Psalm 1’s description of a Godly person, focusing me on verse 3:
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:3 (ESV)
As I thought and prayed about what this verse might mean to me, as a spiritual longing, here is what I came to perceive what I am being called to.
I long to be a tree: Strong, alive, providing shelter and shade
Planted: Immovable, unshakable, deeply rooted in the knowledge of God’s love for me
By streams of water: Drinking deeply of living water— love that flows from the heart of Jesus. Flowing — always new, continually refreshed and refreshing.
Yielding fruit in its season: Not forcing fruit out of season, but content in times of fruitlessness. In season, obediently yielding Godly fruit to feed and nourish others.
Whose leaf does not wither: with growth and life even when there is no fruit, unaffected by the hot and dry seasons.
Prospering in all that I do: Prospering not for personal enrichment or gain, but being aligned with the Father’s heart, prospering in kingdom purposes.
That is my longing, my aspirational state. What is yours? I encourage you to take the time, perhaps with a Spiritual Director or other trusted spiritual friend, to prayerfully consider where you have been with God, where you are today, and what you are being called to.
What is your heart longing for?