I unexpectedly became a college student last week. Four hours before class started I called the director of the program and worked out the details.

I’m excited and nervous at the same time! I’ve taken traditional college classes before.

The program I’m enrolled in is a one year ministry training program and our first class is Practical Christian Living. We’re studying spiritual formation.

As we study the spiritual disciplines I’ve realized how fortunate I am to have a strong spiritual mentor in my life. He is so good at pointing my back to God when I am so focused on my own problems that I’m overwhelmed. And he’s encouraged me to practice the spiritual disciplines in an authentic and organic way.

It’s easy to start thinking of the spiritual disciplines as a checklist. Prayer? Check. Study? Check.

I don’t think this is what God is looking for. I thinking He’s looking for interaction and dependence on our part. It’s easy to perform a ritual and check it off the list without ever really encountering God.

Ken Boa (the writer of my textbook) says, “Spiritual disciplines are good servants but poor masters; they are useful means but inadequate ends.” I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. I pray and study and worship etc. because I love Jesus and want to live my life with Him! But I don’t feel bad if one season is more focused on Bible study and another is more focused on prayer.

I do have to be careful to pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s leading in me. If I’m not intentional about listening I can become distracted and lonely for the Lord. But I think this weakness is also a strength. I like having to be attentive to God.

What about you? What are your thoughts on spiritual formation? Or what adventure does God have you on right now?