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Spirituality: What Is It?

“That’s cool!”
“Great!”
“I love it!”

Catch-phrases. We all use them, but do we ever stop to think what it is we are actually saying? When I say, “That’s cool,” what exactly am I expressing? Of course, it’s unlikely that I am talking about the temperature of the thing under discussion.

Words are an amazing gift that God has given us. If you have tried learning a second language, you realize just how many words there are to learn. That does not even account for all the words in our first language that we do not even know yet. The words that we use are important. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” The words we use, the way we use them, and the amount that we use them will be brought into judgment in the sight of God.
One word that is used often in church settings is the word spiritual. Many times, this word can be used in the context of outward actions. A person is defined as spiritual because they read their Bible, follow the rules, dress in a certain way, or use the right terminology when speaking. However, being spiritual refers to what is inside, in the spirit of a person, the part of a person by which we relate to God (He is a Spirit - John 4:24).

One Bible dictionary defines spiritual in this way:
“Emanating from the Divine Spirit, or exhibiting its effects and so its character... produced by the sole power of God Himself without natural instrumentality, supernatural.”
In other words, a person who is spiritual is one who has come completely under the control of the Spirit of God. It is never achieved through the outward actions, by our doing, but by our learning to yield to the Spirit.
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Galatians 5 gives the great contrast between spiritual living and fleshly living; the two are diametrically opposed. Galatians 5:16-17 says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

Every day, we have the choice of whether we are going to be spiritual (allow the Spirit of God to have full control of our lives) or to be fleshly (allow our sinful lusts, that which comes naturally to us, have full control). We can even be doing the right thing outwardly, such as reading our Bible, but if we are not doing it in the power of the Spirit, but seeking to do in our own ability, we are not spiritual. It is not about what we do, but rather about who is in control of our lives. Practically speaking then, how do we become spiritual and not just get caught up in doing “spiritual” activity?

First, we must ask the Lord to fill us with His Spirit. Luke 11:13 says, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” How often we forget that our Father delights to hear and answer our prayers! It is no question that it is praying according to His will that we would be filled with the Spirit and be yielded to His control. We cannot even do that in our own strength, but He has promised to do it, if we will but ask.

Second, we must crucify our flesh, our affections, and our lusts. Galatians 5:24 says, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” This includes, of course, sin that we are indulging in, but it also goes beyond to the things that we hold dear that may not be wrong in themselves, but are things that pull our affections away from our Lord. We will never be able to walk in the Spirit if there remains anything that we are unwilling to surrender to Him.

Third, we must let Him direct how we spend every moment of our days. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Remember that we said that being spiritual is when the Spirit of God is the one in control rather than self. This means that He has the right to direct in every area of our lives at all times; He is in charge. Every moment, I should be seeking to yield to Him, to glorify Him, to allow Him to live through me.

As we allow the Spirit of God to be in control of our lives, this will definitely affect our outward actions. If He is in control of your spirit, then you will be reading your Bible, obeying authority, speaking of Him, and so on. However, this will be the result of the Spirit’s control, not what brings about spirituality. Our flesh will fail us every time, but when we are filled with the Spirit, victory is assured in every area of our lives.
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Comments 3

  1. Thank you, Kristen. Well said. Fruit is borne naturally, not forced or faked. Our only hope is Christ living in me: Gal 2:20.

  2. That is so true! We claim spirituality by our outward actions instead of by the Holy Spirit’s dwelling in us!
    Thank you!

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