The Four Pillars of Passionate Spirituality

Article posted: 12 Apr 2011

By Ralph Bowles

Let me set out the preliminaries for this blog on Anglican spirituality.

These reflections are tailored to the presenting current issues of Anglicans in Brisbane Diocese, Anglican Church of Australia - they may be of help to others too, I trust.

From the results of our Natural Church Development surveys, it is clear that Brisbane Anglicans need to be stronger in reading, enjoying and applying the Bible; in prayer and in the connection of faith to life - the experience of God.

I will not spend time on how this situation came about; my focus is change for the better.

I have designed the material for this blog with these particular spirituality issues in mind. These important issues also sum up what I call the four pillars of passionate spirituality. In Romans 12:1-2 the apostle Paul opens up his application section for Christian living by this stirring exhortation to spiritual living:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect. (NRSV)

Pillar (1) is DEDICATION or CONSECRATION. We are to respond to the God who has given his all (in the Son) for us, by giving our ALL to God - every bit of us, mind, soul, emotions, even our bodies. This is the true, right worship (12:1). Our Sunday public worship is to be an expression of our 24/7 personal and complete worship of our  whole  lives.  With  this  basic  fact  of  Christian discipleship (signified in  our baptism) we see how the working out of our faith in everyday life is not an optional issue.

Pillar (2) is the RENEWING OF OUR MINDS. Our spirituality must not bypass our minds. We need to have our understanding informed by God's truth in the gospel. Truth from God is to be the ongoing mechanism for transformation, as it flows along the channel of a consecrated will and whole-life service. Anglicans have a strength in the area of thoughtful discipleship. We will keep the revealed truths of God's Word before us in order to grow and be changed.

Pillar (3) is to BE TRANSFORMED. More precisely, it is to LET GOD TRANSFORM US. We are to be partners with our God in the ongoing work of inner and outer life- transformation. The world's values and pressures may shape us and squeeze us, but we are to counteract this by pursuing the tranforming work of God in our lives. The word here in Greek is a form of "metamorphosis" - an inner and deep change of our natures. This change will happen as God works deep in us by his truths to renew us at all levels. This transformation is an on-going process!


practical out-working of God's renewing power in us: we will be able to discern how to live for God in the everyday. The expression used here is proving the will of God by experience. We will find out how good it is to live God's way.

Here then are the four areas of spirituality that we will keep before us: TOTAL COMMITMENT; TRUTH-EXPLORING; TRANSFORMATION OF OUR SELF; TESTING IN LIFE.

One last point must be mentioned - the gospel of God's grace in Christ is the foundation or floor on which the pillars of spirituality stand. This will not be far from us in these reflections. The central worship service of the Anglican Church is the Eucharist, which is a vivid celebration and experience of the glorious saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ in his life, death and resurrection.

Christian Schwarz has said that "the essence of passionate spirituality is a God- centred existence."


During this coming week, read Romans 12:1-2 every day and spend 20 minutes in meditating on these four pillars of your spiritual life and talking to God about your life.

  • Offer God your whole self as a living sacrifice. If you have never consciously committed every aspect of your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, do it this week - reaffirm your baptismal vows.
  • Think about what areas of your thinking and understanding about God need to be
  • renewed, completed, changed.
  • Ask  God  to  transform  you  -and  identify  one  or  two  areas  of  your  life  and behaviuor that need to be changed.
  • Put your Christian commitment to work in your life this week - see how it goes when you translate your faith in Christ to real obedience. Take a faith step and ask God to confirm his good, pleasing and perfect will.
  • Extra assignment: memorize Romans 12:1-2.