On Being Spiritual
Be Strong, Be Well — Tuesday, July 7
What does it mean to be “spiritual” and have “spiritual” worship? Is it feelings and emotions? Some folks among us say they “feel more spiritual” when they dim the lights in worship, add some instrumental music, clap their hands, or raise them in the air and sway from side to side.
You would think (and hope) everyone would understand spirituality is something authorized by God’s Word. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).
Paul wrote to the Corinthian brethren saying, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1). To be carnal is allowing the impulses of the flesh (body or mind) to rule.
Now remember, these were Christians, members of the Lord’s church. But they were not concerned about true spiritual matters or what pleased God. They were doing what satisfied their own fleshly desires. If something has not been authorized by New Testament instructions, it doesn’t qualify as spiritual.
In the same letter, Paul wrote, “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37).
These commandments were given to inspired men like Paul, who wrote them down for all of us to read, so we can be spiritual. “These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13). “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). We walk in the Spirit, when we are producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23).
Being spiritual is the result of diligent study and making proper application of the Word of God to our lives. “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10).
The next time we hear of someone trying to be “more spiritual” by stimulating their carnal emotions and feelings by the things they enjoy, we have an opportunity to point them in the direction of God’s Word where true spirituality can be found. Put them on track to pleasing God rather than themselves.
Then together we “...as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). —Chris