Australian Communities Report
Growing in the Dark

Questions for Different Stages of Faith

JourneyWe recently shared about "stages of faith" as a helpful model for understanding our journey as disciples of Jesus. All six stages are important in our journey as each one has a profound impact and role in our lives. Also, different activities are more helpful in one stage than they may be in another. For instance, during stage 4, times of solitude and silence, as well as time with a mentor or spiritually mature person can be extremely helpful.

Below are some helpful questions to ask yourself or a friend, relevant to each of the stages.

Stage 1

How do you experience God the most?

What need brings you to this place in your life?

Who do you need God to be for you right now? What do you need from God?

How has your image of God changed lately?

Stage 2

What new insights are you learning?

Who are your spiritual heroes that you seek to emulate?

Who is journeying with you?

Is your community supportive? Is it healthy or unhealthy?

Stage 3

Which or your talents or gifts do you feel good about and are willing to use?

What spiritual responsibility have you accepted in your life, work or spiritual community?

Are you working on any particular spiritual goals?

How is God available to you when you minister?

Are you able to ground your identity in God rather than in the work that you do for God?

How do you see God working through you?

How are you taking care of yourself so you do not burn out or get weary from doing good?

Stage 4

What God questions are you asking?

What is different about the way you perceive God lately? Has your image of God changed?

Has the faith you relied upon fallen apart? When? How? Why?

What are you doing for fun?

Do you have balance in your life?

Do you have a supportive community or close friend?

The Wall

What is standing in the way of God living his life through you?

What are you holding on to? What would you give up to move forward into more intimacy with God?

Do you sometimes feel that God has abandoned you? Do you blame yourself for this?

How are you experiencing God in the middle of this Wall? Is grace visible?

Who else can help you through this?

What hurts or wounds have you suffered? What brokenness has occurred as a result?

What traits or characteristics could be dangerous to you and others if not monitored?

What gift of the Spirit has emerged most powerfully as a result of this Wall experience?

What calling(s) has emerged as you process your life in God?

Stage 5

What is your deep longing?

How do you glimpse God’s purpose, vocation, call or ministry in your life?

How would you describe God’s grace in your life?

How are you shifting from a vertical life (just you and God) to a horizontal life (you and God moving out together toward others)?

How are you starting to see your own uniqueness?

Stage 6

What inner questions are you directing towards God at the moment?

How is God becoming everything to you?

How do you feel called to sacrifice for others with no reservations and no guarantees how it is going to turn out?

How are you becoming more detached from self, others and the world and simultaneously more attached to God? This is not about ‘withdrawal’ but about intimacy with God as a life priority.

[Gleaned from chapter 10 of The Critical Journey]

Comments

I've been thinking about this since Lynn's message on Sunday. I'd never heard of the Dark Night of the Soul before.
Is it possible to go beyond stage 4 without hitting The Wall? or is it a mandatory part of every Christian's journey?

Good question Vincent.

I think there are different degrees of Stage 4 that are unique to each person. However, I do think we all experience moments of crisis and potential transformation through fresh surrender to God. This is what I would see as the 'wall.' To me, the 'dark night of the soul' is an intensive and extended Stage 4 experience tha is not uncommon but that not everyone necessarily goes through.

You might like to read the next post on 'Growing in the Dark' for some more thoughts on this and a link to an excellent article on this topic.

Mark

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