Thrive in 5 – Spiritual
Christianity strongly affirms the glorious truth that the Christian God is a triune God. What we believe about this triune God will fundamentally affect how we relate to him and how we live out our Christian lives. Linda Gist (see below), who offers spiritual formation retreats for pastors, offers a summary of five key points from Michael Reeves’ book, Delighting in the Trinity. This book is recommended not just as a tool for theological understanding of the Trinity, but more importantly as a devotional for enlarging your heart to receive more fully God’s love for you. As you read, allow the Holy Spirit to stir up a longing in your heart for more of God.
Delighting in the Trinity
“What is your Christian life like? What is the shape of your gospel, your faith? In the end, it will all depend on what you think God is like. Who God is drives everything.” (Reeves, p. 129). What we think God is like will shape our Christian life, our gospel, and our faith.
1. The Trinity is the glorious essence of God. The Trinity is not a cumbersome, man-made doctrine for which we must devise some clever explanation. Because of the Trinity, God is love. God is relationship–three distinct persons who are absolutely inseparable. The Trinity is the governing center of the Christian faith and it is what distinguishes God from all other gods. You cannot have a God who is love if he is all by himself. How might your need to understand or explain the Trinity hinder your ability to know and fully embrace our triune God? Is there one person of the Trinity that you tend to shy away from?
2. God is Father. God is a good and perfect Father, not an extension or projection of our earthly fathers. God is not a Creator who decided to become a Dad. Neither is he an awesome, all-powerful king who happens to have a family. No, he is a Father who creates, a Father who rules and reigns over all creation. For all eternity the Father was loving and giving life to his Son. Think of what a good father does. He gives life; he begets children. He is outgoing and life-giving. What do you find appealing about God as essentially Father? Are there ways that you react against God as Father? What might be the cause of that reaction?
3. God creates out of love. There is a beautiful dance of love and life among the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Out of this dance of life-giving love comes creation, including us! God did not create us because he was lonely or in need of affirmation. Creation is the outpouring of the love that exists between the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit. God created us to be his children and to be a part of his loving fellowship. Do you see yourself more often as God’s servant called to do his will or as his beloved child? How does either of these narratives play out in your life?
4. God’s love draws us in. The wondrous reality is that the Father is happy and delighted to share his love for his Son with us and thus be known as our Father. He rejoices to lavish his love on us. And Jesus comes to share the love of the Father with us through the Spirit three in one working together to draw us in. How might this truth combat your own sense of unworthiness to receive God’s love? How might this affect your prayer life?
5. Our obedience emerges out of love. Life with God is not essentially a life of outer obedience in following rules so that God will love us and be pleased with us. Life with God, offered to us through the Son and by the Spirit, is life immersed in the love of a Father and the intimate fellowship with the Trinity. As we walk with God and allow him to transform our hearts, our obedience and service will be the overflow of this kind of life, a response to the Father’s superabundant, generous, and radiant self-giving love. How could you reorient your life towards knowing God more intimately instead of working harder to follow the rules or please him with your service?
“O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8
Practice: Since Michael Reeves encourages us to “delight in the Trinity,” spend some time delighting in God–Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here are a few options:
Choose one of the five points above and spend some time reflecting on what difference it would make in your relationship with God.
Spend some time alone outdoors focusing on the intricate details of God’s creation. Do you notice any patterns? Let the beauty and symmetry speak to you about the glory of God.
Go on a date with God: Go to your favorite dessert place alone. As you enjoy your treat, write God a letter. As a suggestion, tell your Father what you love about him. Then ask him what he loves about you. Write it down.
Take a “worship break.” Pick one or two of your favorite worships songs and spend some time alone with God just worshipping him.
To explore this issue further, see the following:
Michael Reeves. Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.
Fred Sanders, “John Wesley on Experiencing the Trinity,” February 10, 2014, Seedbed,
John Wesley sermon, “On the Trinity,” (possibly the only sermon by Wesley specifically on the Trinity):
Guest spiritual contributor: Linda Gist
Linda, a spiritual formation director in Sacramento, California, is a graduate of the Renovare© Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation and regularly leads retreats for pastors.
To contact Linda, email email@example.com.
Linda’s website: Rhythms of Grace
Executive editor: Russ Gunsalus
Curator of content: Dave Higle