To grow in the freedom to fully love God and others requires growing in the capacity to “de-center” from our selves and “re-center” in God. It is a death and re-birth experience. The successful practice of this approach frees us from the domination of our individual ego and enables us to awaken to a sense of the self rooted in God through Jesus Christ. This new sense of self does not result from the abolishment of our former humanity but rather its transformation and fulfillment. The goal is what the Apostle Paul meant when he declared, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20 ).
Thus while life in the Spirit is deeply personal, it is not individualistic. Spiritual practices like deep prayer and sacrificial service enable us to de-center, to yield to and persevere in God in the face of pain, disappointment, confusion, and disorientation. They provide structure and support for being radically open to the Spirit and the Spirit’s formative work in us in an ongoing and consistent way, one that must be rooted primarily in faith. Without faith, we are trapped in our separate, limited selves—centered in our own limited, self-referential understanding. But by laying that aside and trusting God by faith, we are open and present to God and the divine action in and through us.