Spiritual Formation | University of Valley Forge

Spiritual Formation

SPIRITUAL FORMATION

UVF Student praying at the alter

The University of Valley Forge (UVF) is a Christ-centered institution committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ that will be ministers of the gospel in every context of life. As part of this commitment, we believe that biblical truth necessary to the life of every believer can be described using four spiritual pillars.

His Gospel - Behold and Become. Romans 1:16

His Gospel is not only the power to save us from our sins and wretchedness, but it is also the power to change us into the likeness of Christ (Romans 7:24-25). Our salvation, which comes from God through the work of Jesus Christ, cannot be earned by human merit or striving. Beholding the gospel means having a growing sense of Jesus’ love in our hearts which overwhelms our old desires and affections (“We love because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19; “See what great love the Father has lavished on us” – 1 John 3:1; John 17:20-26). Becoming refers to the shift of affection within our heart that expels lesser loves (idols) and causes us to love Jesus and the things that Jesus loves (Romans 8:28-32). Christ satisfies our desire for significance, which frees our heart from the need to gain importance (“We… contemplate the Lord’s glory… are being transformed into his image” 2 Corinthians 3:18; “Come to me all who are weary and burdened” Matthew 11:28 ). The power of the Gospel is to behold the beauty of Jesus and become more like him.

His Presence - Abide and Live. John 15:5

His Presence is where we abide in Christ and live through Him. Being with Jesus as described in John 15:5 is to abide or remain with him by spending extravagant focused time with Jesus. Followers of Jesus must learn to abide by Spirit and Truth (John 4:24), which is the presence of the Holy Spirit and the presence of the Word. When we abide in Jesus our heart is transformed by the Holy Spirit in His presence so that we can live in a way that is pleasing to Him. Because we can do nothing apart from Jesus, we must abide. There are four contexts of remaining in Jesus: large group (more than 8-10 people), small group (6-8 people), one on one, and alone with Jesus (“they were all together in one place” – Acts 2:1; “they continued to meet together… they broke bread in their homes,” Acts 2:46; Nicodemus- John 3:1-19; “Jesus withdrew to solitary places to pray”- Luke 5:16).

His Ways - Follow and Obey. Matthew 4:19

His Ways is based on the foundation of His Gospel; you cannot learn to obey Jesus and follow His Ways if you have not seen His love for you. When your heart is transformed by the power of His Gospel and you abide in His Presence daily, your heart will lose its old affections and begin to have affection for Jesus instead. Because Jesus has treasured us, we can obey Him with great delight (“Whoever has been forgiven little loves little” Luke 7:47). True obedience is not just behavior modification but having a love for the commands of the Lord and a submission to His word (“If you love me you will keep my commands” John 14:15). While legalism teaches that you must follow the commands of Jesus so that you can be accepted by Him, following His Ways means that you obey because you have already been accepted through Christ, the one who died for you (“We love because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19).

His Mission - Receive and Go. Acts 1:8

His Mission is the biblical mandate that Christ has given to His church to make disciples of all nations. Making disciples is a call for every follower of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20). All followers of Jesus belong to the priesthood of believers in which the people of God do the work of the ministry to bring the truth of the gospel to all and train others to follow Jesus. Vocational ministers, while they have a special place in the body of Christ as equippers of the saints, are merely equippers for the rest of the body (Ephesians 4:11-13). When the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, he gave to the body of Christ the power to make other disciples. The only way that disciples can complete His Mission is through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit for the harvest of saints (Acts 1:8).