Matt Tebbe is a friend, former graduate school classmate and pastor. He blogs over at The Submissional Life. Today I was looking through some of his recent posts and found one that struck a nerve or two for me…in a good way.
Here at Restoring Pangea, we like to talk about spiritual formation – aspects of formation that are helpful, new ones that are exciting to find, some that have been less than helpful, or outright toxic…or some we just don’t need anymore.
Matt put together an adapted list of questions he asks himself regularly when it comes to being formed as a person. Every item on his list – every item – resonates deeply with my own lived experience and search for substantive formation over the years. I’m including my favorites, but be sure to check out his post for the complete list.
1. Do I understand my primary identity as “saved sinner” or “saint who sins”?
2. What sort of preaching/teaching do I connect with? Am I drawn to pastors who are “tough on sin” and “let me have it” or those who encourage me to trust what God says about my identity in Jesus? Does their teaching reverse the flow of Father -> Identity -> Obedience?
3. Do I believe that one day, with much effort and striving, I will eventually please God? Or do I believe that he is already pleased with me?
4. Do I believe that God has yet to change me? Do I still believe that my heart is desperately wicked and untrustworthy? Or do I believe that I, in fact, have been given a new heart by God and he is in the process of maturing (not changing) me?
5. Where is my focus: on overcoming sin or giving and receiving love from God and others? What do I measure? What do I count?