Spiritual Formation Over A Lifetime: The Life of Peter
God always begins with us where we are; not where we wish we were. In Peter’s case, though he was a successful fisherman, that meant “uneducated and ordinary” (Acts 4.13). “Starting where we really are” is a core formational thought that explains much of the biblical narrative from: “Adam, where are you?” to the calling of Abraham and Jesus’ calling of the twelve and his various conversations with everyday people. But this is also a great promise: our starting point is not definitive. Movement – the direction of one’s movement, the end to which one is moving- is our focus in the formation of our souls into Christlikeness.
The Apostle Peter may be the shining example in the New Testament of one who started from a significantly confused, mixed, halting place—and who through transformation gained by following Jesus, became a founding father in the faith. In turn Peter could be humble, be told: “Get behind me, you have in mind the things of men,” be full of zeal for God, fiercely proclaim love for Jesus and also deny him.
In this series, we will discover what it might mean to give our whole selves to the whole process of spiritual formation as Peter described it (2 Peter 1: 5 – 11):
…make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Peter’s parting words in his last letter comprise our aim for this series: to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.