If we want to give the real Christ and not what we think is the Christ to others, especially to our young people, we need to be (not just have the) real Christ for them. To be real Christ for others cannot be done by our own effort. This is done by the action of the Spirit of God. We discuss now how the Spirit of God forms the real Christ in us. In this way we can grow in our knowledge of spiritual development, how the spirit develops in us so that we, as real Christ, can give him to others.
Knowing how the Spirit works in us is like knowing how the wind operates. Knowing how the wind operates or functions gave the Wright Brothers the principles and techniques with which to fly the first man-made, power driven, and continuous heavier than air flight on December 17, 1903. Knowing how the Spirit works in us will enable us to understand how he forms Christ in us, and we will be able to use this knowledge so that indeed the real Christ can be quickly and effectively formed in us so that he (Christ) can give himself to others.
There have been many periods in our history when it was clearly seen that the Spirit of God worked in an extraordinary manner. From these periods we can learn how he still works in us.
We can name some of these periods: the Pentecost experience of the disciples of Jesus after he left this earth, the Protestant reformation in the 16th century, the Great Awakening in America during the 17th century and the Religious Revivals in England during the 18th century. During these periods the real Christ was known by the people and passed on to others. This in turn changed individual lives and entire societies. Equality of races was established, abuses by church leaders were controlled, slavery was abolished, and the workers were given the enjoyment of their rights.
Intense Praying Expecting God to Do Something New
The first phenomenon in these periods was that the Spirit led individuals and groups to prayer. He convinced these individuals and groups of the necessity of praying. Now praying during these times was not just a matter of asking God for something. It was a matter of waiting upon God, listening to him, with an eager expectation that he was going to give these individuals and groups instruction what to do. There was an attitude of receptivity of what God would do with them. The people were like a lump of clay eagerly waiting to be formed into a pot.
Loving and Reverential Study of God's Word
Secondly, during these periods of great revivals there was a return to the written word of God. Individuals and groups pondered on the written word of God. There was this movement to return to the written word of God amidst the incursions of a multiplicity of traditions and man-made regulations.
Urgent, Vigorous Preaching of God's Word
Thirdly, as a result of the first two factors above, during these periods of extraordinary manifestation of the Spirit's work, there was vigorous preaching of the word of God. People were convicted of their sinfulness during this preaching. It was not a preaching to make their lives better. It was a preaching to completely change their lives.
These three, 1) prayer with a sense of fellowship with God and eager expectancy for his instructions, 2) serious, loving study on the written word of God, 3) and preaching with a sense of urgency and deep conviction to change radically, are simple things and yet they are the means that the Spirit of God uses to form the real Christ in us.
To sum up then our discussion, the Spirit of God forms the real Christ in us by leading us to a deeper experience of prayer, to a personal, profound understanding of the written word of God, and to listen to vigorous, urgent, life-changing preaching. These three factors are essential to a genuine spiritual development.