2016 ECWA USA Calendar


Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but You have not let me know whom You will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have found favor with Me.’ If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so that I may know You and continue to find favor with You…The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. “Then Moses said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us?…And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” Exod.33:12-18.

I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Phil.3:10.

For this very reason, 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 these 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. 2 Pet.1:5-9.

This pastoral letter is a temporary break-off from the on-going series on the Exposition of ECWA Doctrines and Articles of Faith. The chief reason being to acquaint those who for various reasons are not able to participate in the special teaching series. Spiritual Formation Summit which runs from January 31st-March 20.

There is no doubt that Spiritual Formation is not a common term in the vocabulary of contemporary religious community, and this includes those who identify as evangelicals. Many church-going people are familiar with such terms as “repentance, conversion, discipleship, missions, evangelism, prayer and fasting, but not Spiritual Formation. So this naturally raises the question,”What is Spiritual Formation?” A simple question with a complex answer. The answer could be said to have many faces, but one identification. Different people have defined Spiritual Formation in various but similar ways.

One author writes,” Spiritual Formation speaks of a shaping process with reference to the spiritual dimension of a person’s life.” Many others have defined it in the following ways:

  1. Spiritual Formation is the practice by which one progresses in a spiritual or religious life.
  2. Spiritual Formation is the process of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ for the glory of God and others.
  3. Spiritual Formation is the on-going process of the Triune God transforming the believer’s life and character towards the life and character of Jesus Christ.
  4. Spiritual formation is the process of transformation of the inner dimension of the human being, the heart, which is the same as the spirit or within.
  5. Spiritual Formation is the process of forming or growing the spiritual self.

Now you get the idea. Notice the one word, process, that is repeated in all these definitions. The repetition of that word right off the bat indicates that the pursuit of spiritual formation has no graduation date nor Diploma. It is an endeavor in which a believer is engaged throughout his life. An old saint of a past generation expressed it in these undying words,”The making of a saint is a miracle of but a moment, but the making of a man of God is a life-long process.” Alan Redpath

Spiritual formation goes beyond the casual,”I have Jesus in my heart forevermore.”of the beginning of the christian life. Spiritual formation is the act of the believer in seeking daily to be conformed into the image of Christ. A key passage of scripture in spiritual formation is Romans 8:29.” God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity restored. ”( The Message). This passage shows that conformity to the image of Christ,a.k.a spiritual formation was in God’s plan of salvation in eternity. A Christian life that is short of this goal is a compromised version and living within the realm of mediocrity. Writing to the bewitched Galatian believers, Paul reminded them how he yearns and strives for Christ to be formed in them. Gal.4:19.

Although many church historians date the beginning of spiritual formation with the Desert Fathers of the early church such as Simon Stylite, Anthony of Egypt, or founders of cenobitic communities such as St. Pachomius and Basil of Caesarea, others begin with the later development within the medieval Catholic church which was associated with divines such as Benedict of Nursia, Teresa of Avila, Bernard of Cluny, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Catherine of Siena. All these sought for a personal devoted life to God in the face of perceived spiritual decay, debauchery, and growing moral corruption in the early church and later intensified in the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. Their inner quest for holiness and spiritual discipline led to the founding of the monastic movement. There are even those who date the origin as recently as the latter half of the 20th century, with the 1978 publication of Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline.

However, if one goes by the many and related definitions of spiritual formation as shown above, it could be argued that the thirst and hunger for spiritual formation outdated the above historical periods by several millennia. The quest for deep experiential knowledge and relationship with God is as old as Biblical history. As shown in the opening Scripture passages, Moses, after his glorious forty days mountain experience with God ,no sooner pleaded, “Show me Your glory.” Exod.33:7-11,12-18. The apostle Paul after his celestial vision and many years as a missionary still yearned, “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” 2 Cor.12:1-6;Phil.3:10. Besides the high priestly prayer of Christ at Gethsemane, John 17, the two greatest prayers in the New Testament are for a deep, intimate, and experiential knowledge of God.Eph.1:15-20;3:14-21.

While the term “spiritual formation” may be relatively modern, its purpose and goal are the same that were sought by the Bible characters, Desert Fathers and the medieval saints- a deep experiential knowledge of God.

As in sanctification, spiritual formation has two sides, God’s part and the believer’s part.” For it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.” Phil.2:13. In sanctification, God begins the work,1 Pet.1:2, but it is the believer’s responsibility to desire and extend the work begun inwardly by the Holy Spirit. Rom.6:12-14;2 Cor.6:14-7:1;1 Thess.4:1-8;2 Pet.1:3-11. The renowned missionary statesman and Biblical scholar, J. Oswald Sanders, contends in his book, “Enjoying Intimacy With God,” It is we, not God, who determine the degree of intimacy with God that we enjoy. We are at this moment as close to God as we really choose to be.”

Someone has written that “Spiritual formation is a synergy of the divine initiative and human response.” Brother Lawrence, the mystic who lived “the practice of the presence of God” while doing menial chores in the monastery states that effective communication with God could be carried on in the normal duties of life. He believed that it was a mistaken concept to compartmentalize prayer time from the normal walk of life. “ Our actions should unite us with God when we are involved in daily activities, just as our prayer unites us with Him in our quiet time,” he writes.

Fanny Crosby in her inspiring poetical style expresses a yearning that rhymes with spiritual formation in these words.

I am Thine O, Lord, I have heard Thy voice
And it told Thy love to me
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee

Consecrate me now to Thy service Lord
By the power of grace divine
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope
And my will be lost in Thine

O, the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend.


  • Rev Joseph P Ezeigbo

    Rev. Joseph Ezeigbo attended Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana where he graduated in 1984 with a BA in History and Biblical Studies (Double major). Rev. Ezeigbo began his graduate studies at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake and later transferred to Capital Bible Seminary in Lanham, Maryland where he graduated with an M.Div. and Th.M. degrees in 1988 and 1989 respectively. He pursued post-graduate education at Liberty University and Liberty Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia. Rev. Ezeigbo previously served as secretary and chairman of ECWA USA and currently serving as the vice chairman and prayer coordinator. As a hobby, he is a researcher in Theology and Church history. He help to raise prayer awareness for the worldwide Persecuted church and prayer for the Muslim world.

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