What Are God’s Goals in My Spiritual Formation?

Summary: I look at some of God’s goals and making us spiritually formed to look like Christ. Every disciple of Jesus learns God’s goals through a lifetime how to grow closer to the image and example of Jesus.


In my last post, I concluded my teaching on the Sermon on the Mount by talking about the three results of Jesus’s teaching. In this post, I will teach on God’s goals in spiritual formation.

We’ve been talking about spiritual formation and discipleship for a long time. Although I have touched on God’s goals in the process of spiritual formation for each of us, I have not taught on God’s goals specifically. I have explained the steps of spiritual formation, but not the why. Why do we have to go through all this formation?

God has a purpose and plan for each of us to be conformed to Christ, to grow into His image. But why does He want us to be like His Son? Jesus is the image and example for us all to follow. God’s goals for our spiritual transformation are numerous, and I will only cover a few basic ones here.

As we focus on these goals, think of how everything we have talked about so far fits into them. You will see how God’s goals line up to the specifics of what we have discussed so far, and will continue to discuss. Let’s get started.

It’s Not about You

We in America have so embraced the individualistic, lone cowboy version of Christianity that we think everything is about us. What we don’t realize is that most of the epistles have the plural “you” instead of the singular “you” directed at individuals. Paul wrote to churches, with only four of his epistles addressing a person.

Even in the general epistles, the writer of Hebrews writes to Jews who are curious about Christ, Peter writes to Jewish Christians, James writes his sermons and wisdom to his church scattered abroad because of persecution, and John writes as the elder of Ephesus to the Ephesian Christians.

I say this because we automatically apply what we read in the Bible to ourselves first, and then to how we interact with other Christians and the church we attend. It’s not that this is the wrong approach, but that we need to remember that what we read often applies to a larger audience before it applies to individuals.

It’s not wrong to apply the Bible to our personal lives. It’s also not wrong to envision that the writers of the Bible are speaking to you as an individual. But it’s good to recognize everything you read has a historical context. Before it came to you and God spoke it into your life, He applied it to an original audience.

Why is this important for your spiritual formation? For one, it helps us realize we are not the only people going through trials and temptations. It keeps the enemy from that last thing no one has ever suffered what we are suffering. For another reason, it helps us look for help from other believers who have gone through what we suffer now. A third reason: it kills the power of darkness and sin because we bring it out into the light by sharing with other Christians and receiving ministry from them.

Your transformation is not about you in a sense that God gets all the glory for everything He does in and through you. It’s about His Kingdom and the change only He has the power to bring about in you. He receives all the glory and honor, and all your praise every step of the way.

It’s All about You

Now, I don’t want you to get a big head, but the transformation into the image of Christ God brings about in you is not about you, but it is about you. You are the one Jesus rescues from the pit and from sin, death, Hell, and the grave. Jesus came to rescue you.

One goal God has in your spiritual formation is to transform you from a sin-filled, destined for Hell, lost creation into a Kingdom serving, Spirit-filled child of God. You are at the center of His work and efforts. He’s doing it for you. He came to rescue you.

God has these lofty goals to make you better. Now, this better is not the better you envision, but what He envisions for you. Your heavenly Father knows what is best for you, even when you don’t. That’s why it’s His plan and purposes, not yours. This is not an “improve yourself” program. It’s a “look like Jesus” program.

When God created you, He envisions a perfect and complete creation loving, worshiping and dedicated to serving Him. Of course, He wants you to choose to be this person. But when you do, rest assured, He will fulfill His plan in you. He makes you better in the light of eternity and the image of Jesus.

Well-Rounded in Christ

Our education system is based on the Greek learning system of getting a well-rounded education. That’s why I had to endure a couple semesters of gym class at Bible College. This education tries to make a person who, even in the weaker parts of study, at least has a taste of those disciplines.

As Jesus spiritually forms us to His image, He is rounding out the weaknesses in our character and faith. The parts of us that do not please Him, He is changing and making more like Him. He wants to re-create those parts of our personality, character, and spirit that have been wounded by the Fall.

Jesus is making a whole, spiritually mature person in each of us. He knows what His end goal is. He knows what He created us to be. The Holy Spirit works in harmony with His goals to get us there. Sometimes these growing pains hurt. But Jesus is willing for us to suffer a little here to be what He wants us to be.

The Holy Spirit is stamping out the sin and us. He’s perfecting a grateful creation lifting holy hands in worship to a worthy King. The Spirit speaks God’s truth into our hearts and lives. Jesus proclaimed us to be holy and perfect like our Father, but the Holy Spirit is making that vision a reality for us. When He’s finished, we will be those perfect and complete, mature creations that fit Jesus’s vision.

Strengthening and Increasing Faith

Another goal Jesus has for us is to strengthen and increase our faith. The disciples cried out, “Increase our faith” ()! Jesus is doing just that through these growing pains. The best way to strengthen faith is to introduce adversity and trials. Just as we strengthen muscles by introducing heavier weights, Jesus is doing the same with our faith.

Each trial grows our faith. God introduces adversity to our faith, causing us to trust Him more, seek Him more, and lean on Him more. We learn to look to Jesus for comfort and help in each trial. When we have learned how to do this, the next trial introduces more adversity to strengthen our faith even more.

The trials we go through also increase our faith by trusting in God’s track record from the past trials. As the adversity increases, our trust that God has come through for us before and will come through for us again grows. We see through each trial and know that God will never fail us. Our confidence in His character and love for us grows.

Complete Healing

One great goal of our spiritual formation is to produce a complete, healed individual. Living in this world full of sin, we get bumps and bruises to our spirit, soul, and body. I live as an example of that physical destruction in my paralysis. But the Bible promises physical, spiritual, and psychological healing.

Jesus didn’t design us to go through these wounding experiences. He wants us to be complete and whole. When we come to know Him, He works this healing in our lives. There are many examples of Him healing the blind, lame, paralyzed, and those with various diseases. He still heals our bodies today.

Many people suffer emotional and psychological scarring throughout their lives. Jesus doesn’t leave these alone. He reaches in and touches our souls at the deepest places. Even the deepest wounds He comforts and heals. The Bible says the Lord is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).

Jesus endured physical, psychological, emotional, and relational wounds. The writer of Hebrews declares He suffered like no one ever has or will (). He understands the deepest wounds you suffer. But He doesn’t just want to understand. He wants to make us whole and healed. When we experience His salvation, he aims to make us complete in Him. One word for our salvation in the original language includes spiritual deliverance, physical healing, and salvation of our souls.

Holy and Whole

The Bible tells us about the Father’s program to make us more like Jesus. In Romans 8, Paul lays out God’s plan from the beginning (Romans 8:28-30). The often-quoted verse that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (v. 28) is also commonly misunderstood. God will not work all things together for your good.

This verse isn’t saying that you get what you want if you love Jesus. It is saying God works all things together for His good in you. That means you won’t always get what you want, but you will get what God wants you to get. Holiness is God’s top priority in “good.” It’s the goodness of God you get, not everything you want. And sometimes we don’t know what God’s good is in each situation. We have to look at it after the fact.

The rest of this reference tells us about God’s program for making us like Jesus. After we follow Christ as His disciples, God predestines, or bakes into our progress, that we will look more like Jesus. He calls justifies, and glorifies you. These are the steps of the program to make you more like Jesus and conform you to His image instead of the world’s image. God makes sure that when you follow Jesus you look like Him.

Another passage that talks about God’s goal of holiness in us is 1 Peter 1:15-16. Here, Peter tells us God expects us to be holy like Him. That’s a high standard, but the Holy Spirit helps us to grow ever closer to God’s holiness as we obey Him and follow His leading. In both these examples, God has planned our spiritual growth through the formation of Christ’s example and the Holy Spirit’s leadership into holiness.

Growth Challenge

God wants you to become like Jesus. You don’t do this on your own. The Holy Spirit dwells in you, leading you by His voice. You must learn how to hear and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit. This takes a lifetime of learning. But you can start today.

Up Next

We are clear on some of God’s goals in our spiritual formation. Next, I want to address how we grow in Christ through the character chains in the Bible.

Image by Sepp from Pixabay

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