Tag Archives: Spirituality

Finding Spirituality where there is None

Religious themes.  Spiritual insight.  Christian message.  That speaks to me.  I found God in that.  I can relate.  Pick your cliché, these are just a few of the sample phrases tagged on to the secular world by Christians who look for God in everything except where He is found most clearly, His Word.  These phrases are applied to movies, television shows, music, books, in fact in hindsight it most always relates to the entertainment industry.  Just recently I read a blog post where one of T.V.’s most abhorrent shows, Dexter, supposedly contains spiritual insights and helps us relate to the “dark side” that Paul speaks of in Romans 7.  Not only does a post like that give an endorsement for a show filled with foul language, gruesome murder scenes, and disturbing plot lines, it encourages watching the show for spiritual growth.  Another blog post this week, used the themes of the recently released movie True Grit to make a statement about redemption and being rescued from the wrath of God.  Additionally, I’ve read Christian blog posts that encourage listening to rapper Eminem because his music speaks to the heart and gives us hope in times of darkness, posts that encourage the music of Michael Jackson, U2 (Bono), and Bob Dylan for their spirituality, just to name a few others.  This is constantly done in movies too as it seems we look for any reason to justify watching them.  The Book of Eli is one example that comes to mind, and this post doesn’t even address those movies that are blatantly religious, but promote a false message, such as The Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons

Let me be quite frank, God is not found in the unholy.  In fact God used nearly the entire book of Leviticus to express to His chosen people the importance of separation from the unholy and the common.  For example, his command to Aaron, “You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them by Moses.” Leviticus 10:10 God is not found in the show Dexter, the music of Eminem, or the hyper-sexualized, foul-mouthed movies that grace theater screens.  When we attempt to look for God through religious themes or spirituality in our entertainment what we’re left with is a distorted picture of who God really is.  As believer’s in Christ, we are called to be holy and this happens through sanctification, i.e. becoming more like Christ.  God does not use the secular to sanctify the holy.  He uses His Word, His Holy Spirit, and His children in the lives of believers.  “Finding God” in everything, such as our entertainment, music, or books is dangerous because it creates a false image of who God really is.  A false image of God equates to idolatry. 

Ephesians 5:7 says, “Therefore do not become partners with them.” In context, Paul is exhorting believers to separate themselves from the unclean, the immoral, and the impure.  He reminds them that “at one time you were in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:8-11 Does that exhortation from the Apostle Paul sound like it endorses looking for God in our secular, sinful entertainment?  Quite the opposite, because it points towards our separation from the world.  God’s message in Leviticus to the Israelites to be holy and separate is the same message for us today, to distinguish the holy from the unholy.

If you choose to watch movies and television shows, view them for what they really are, entertainment.  Read books or listen to music if you like, but don’t attempt to look for God through the blurred lens of the secular world.  Instead, view your entertainment choices through the crystal clear lens of the Bible and you’ll not only see the true God, but your decisions of what to place before your eyes and ears will become more clear as well.

“Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?  There is not one.” Job 14:4

Pennington finds Spirituality in ’08

In 2008, Chad Pennington revived his NFL career and was rewarded with his second comeback player of the year award.  After 8 up and down seasons with the New York Jets, Pennington was cut prior to the ’08 season and was signed by the 1-15 Miami Dolphins.  Pennington displayed his strong leadership skills by orchestrating an 11-5 record and a trip to the playoffs.  But it wasn’t this change of scenery that led to the resurgence of him and his team.  It was his total submission to God.  A local newspaper Daily Mail near Chad’s alma mater, Marshall University, details a radio interview from Sports Spectrum last week where Pennington shared the following, “I have been playing football a long time and I have considered myself a Christian for a long time,” said Pennington.  “But this season is the first season that I felt like I totally let go of my career and let the Lord have control of it. It was the most rewarding year I have had in the NFL because I felt I grew closer to the Lord.”  Chad realized it’s not enough to just be a Christian without fully trusting in the Lord.  In our lives it’s often easy to say, “I am a Christian”, while still selfishly having our own agenda.  It’s only when we submit to the will of God that we are truly able to move forward and grow spiritually.  What are you holding on to?  Wouldn’t it just be easier to let go and turn everything over to God? Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

What is Spirituality?

I started writing a response to a series of multi-part questions that were asked on the Facebook group page for this blog, http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=62075386824 , but I soon realized that the complexity of the questions might be overwhelming to read in just one post.  So what I decided to do was break down the questioning into its components.  Since spirituality was at the heart of the questions, I want to talk about it first.  Also I want to say that I do not think it was a coincidence that spirituality was the topic of Sunday’s sermon at my church.  Likewise, a passage I’ll refer to later was in my email inbox as K-LOVE’s inspirational verse of the day. www.klove.com 

So what is spirituality?  We hear this word a lot.  People throw it around like a buzz word.  According to Merrium-Webster’s dictionary, spirituality is defined as “concern with religious values; relating to or affecting the spirit; relating to supernatural beings.”  To help assist with this definition, I wanted to look up spirit.  It’s defined as “an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms; supernatural being or essence; temper or disposition of mind or outlook especially when vigorous or animated.”  But this still doesn’t explain what it is or how it applies to us.  Maybe we should look at what the world says about spirituality.  Oprah has an entire section devoted to it on her website with insight from multiple “religious” leaders.  In fact one of her New Age minister’s provides the follow quote on the subject, “So to be spiritual is to be in touch, connected with that dimension of depth in yourself.”  A second quote from her website on spirituality says the following, “Spirituality is where you lay claim to a ground of being within yourself where you say, ‘I want to be that. I really do. I want to be that person that I’m capable of being.’”  A third minister applies the following logic, “Spiritual practitioners must practice spirituality where we stop, take a breath, become still inside—that’s the act of meditation and contemplation,” he says. “It is the same in all of the religions.”  I will just tell you, all three of these quotes came from 3 different people with 3 different religious backgrounds.  Yet they all sound similar.  Primarily, each deals with self and what you can do for you.  On the surface, it sounds like a good idea although a selfish one, but for “religious” leaders where’s their religion?

The truth is the only religion is these quotes come from reliance on self.  There’s no deity, no ultimate authority, and definitely no presence of God (capital G).  Since “religion” had no offer for an answer on spirituality, what does Christianity say about spirituality?  Since I believe Christianity is less a “religion” and more a relationship with an engaged, personal, and powerful God through His Son Jesus, I’d like to discuss what the Bible says about spirituality.  First, spirituality is unattainable without accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior.  It’s through this repentance of sins and acceptance of Jesus that the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts and blesses us with spirituality.  To learn more about accepting Jesus as your Savior, go here http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?page_id=3  or click on the Knowing the Truth tab above.  When Jesus ascended into heaven after his death, burial, and resurrection, He promised the disciples he would send another to remind them (us) of the things He taught. John 14:25-27 With the planting of the seed in our hearts by accepting Jesus, the Holy Spirit offers us the nutrients and water that the seed needs to grow.  With that growth comes the Fruit of the Spirit or our spirituality.  Galatians 5:22-23 outlines the outward fruits that take place from our inward spirituality.  These fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  They don’t exactly reflect a reliance on self like the world’s “religions” do they?  Galatians 5:25 instructs us that, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  This walk is reflected in our fruits. 

But spirituality does not stop there.  For Christians, we must continually grow our inward spirituality so that our fruits will be externally displayed.  The walk that I referred to earlier comes from living out three basic spiritual behaviors found in I Thessalonians 5:16-19.  This passage says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.”  So we see that the first of these behaviors is to “rejoice always”.  Again in Philippians 4:4 we are told, “Rejoice in the Lord always…”  This rejoicing is rooted in Christ.  It doesn’t come from a self-made happiness, but in a deep joy and peace in Jesus regardless of external happenings.  In the second spiritual behavior, the Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:18 to “pray without ceasing” and “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 Christians are to be actively engaged with the Lord through prayer by creating an atmosphere of prayer.  The following quote epitomizes this sentiment, “The activity of prayer may be intermittent, but the atmosphere of prayer should be constant.”  For a deeper discussion of prayer go to http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?p=26  The third behavior necessary for growth of a Christian’s spirituality is, “in everything give thanks”.  Does any “religion” offer that as an example of spirituality?  The answer in short is no.  For them it’s all good as long as it’s all good.  Christian’s know that trials will come and the Apostle Paul’s petition for us to give thanks in everything regardless of our outward circumstances shows how important this idea is.  Last week’s blog “Trial by Fire” offers insight into giving thanks in difficult times, you can find it here: http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?p=178

Spirituality cannot be taken lightly, as the world would have you believe.  The world and her “religious” leaders tell us that spirituality is a reliance on self and is the same in all religions, but this simply isn’t true.  While Christianity in its structure is a religion, it’s a far more than that.  It offers a meaningful relationship with Jesus that leads to true spirituality through the presence of the Holy Spirit.  It’s only through the saving grace of Jesus by his death on the cross that we can experience these truths.

Have a Blessed Day!