A Trinitarian view of spiritual formation

Pastor, author and theologian Jule Canlis has written an essay titled, Calvin's Institutes: A Primer for Spiritual Formation (click here to access the issue of Crux in which her essay appears). In her essay she notes that John Calvin emphasized the doctrine of the Trinity in his writings (including his Institutes). Sadly, this emphasis was diminished by some of Calvin's followers as they further systematized Calvin's theology. One might say that some hyper-Calvinists "out-Calvined" Calvin! In the essay cited above, Canlis discusses Calvin's Trinitarian view on spiritual formation.

Following is a representative quote.
"Spiritual formation is all about entering this Father-Son relationship, about living out the truth of our adoption. It is the hard work of laying tasks aside in order to contemplate and receive the words, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). Only when we hear that word can our tasks have any meaning at all. Quiet times, Scripture memorization, fasting, prayer—all the traditional disciplines—are to serve this one primary business of the Christian life, which is to live more and more deeply into being children of God.
"The reality of our adoption is not one we can force. For those of us who would charge into claiming our 'adoption' as yet another thing to accomplish, the good news is that adoption is under the Holy Spirit's jurisdiction. Our adoption—God welcoming us into his relationship with his Son—is brought about by the Spirit, 'without whom no one can taste either the fatherly favor of God or the beneficence of Christ' [John Calvin, Institutes, III.1.2].
"All too often we see the Holy Spirit as the giver and empowerer of tasks rather than as the giver of our identity. The Holy Spirit ushers us into adoption, not workaholism: he tells us not so much what to do but who we are. Calvin insists, 'Paul teaches that God is called Father by us at the bidding of the Spirit, who alone can 'witness to our spirit that we are children of God...' [Institutes, II.2.29]. This is the Spirit's ministry to us. He is 'witness of [our] adoption ' [Institutes, III.2.8]. It is an identity-forming ministry, calling us to trust in God's fatherly goodness and allowing us to cease from perfectionism and performance. Even here he meets us in our need, for we do not often truly believe in God's fatherly benevolence. But, 'in fact, he supplies the very words so that we may fearlessly cry, Abba Father!' [Institutes, III.1.3]."
If you'd like to read more from Canlis, check out her book Calvin's Ladder.