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!