Saturday, January 07, 2006

Deep and Very Warm Spirituality

During my first year of graduate school, while intern pastoring a church, I took the young people to a previously scheduled event, and the moment I walked in the door, I knew I didn't want to be there. Then the first song sung had the lyrics, "There's a sweet, sweet spirit in this place." I thought, "There's certainly a spirit in this place, but I don't think it's the Holy Spirit." I've talked to people that "are just really, really spiritual." Some of them "have had a deep spirituality since they were very young." I remember smiling at those times, a sort of Mona Lisa smile, and nodding in agreement. Lots of people are spiritual. Angels are spirit beings and demons are fallen angels. You get the picture.

I have to admit that I don't understand a lot about spirituality. These people who twist their bodies in unsightly angles, others who like needles stuck like post-it notes all over their bodies, and then all the ones who hum and explore the benefits of the crystal. I don't plan on ever traveling anywhere to any of their retreats. However, I do know quite a bit about what the Bible says about them who are spiritual. In Romans 8 Paul contrasts the carnally minded from the spiritually minded. These constitute two states of mankind. Unconverted men have carnal minds, but the saved have spiritual ones. John Owen writes, "The minding of the spirit is the actual exercise of the mind as renewed by the Holy Ghost, as furnished with a principle of spiritual life and light in its conception of spiritual things, and the setting of its affection of them." Being spiritually minded is perhaps the greatest distinction between the regenerate and unregenerate. The ordinary track of the spiritual mind is on things that are spiritual, that is, heavenly, holy, and Scriptural things.

Since believers in Christ have spiritual minds, they characteristically think spiritual thoughts, and, therefore, do spiritual things, again, things that please God. God is a Spirit and they who worship Him, worship Him in spirit and in truth. Those who are spiritual give God what He wants. And this will manifest itself in very specific ways---the fruit of the Spirit, boldness in evangelism, right relationships in the home and at work, thankfulness, God-honoring music, and fitting into the church as the Spirit wills. Satan would love to deceive you about the concept of spirituality, to think that something exists that is superior to what God says in His Word. He can transform himself into an angel of light and that warmth you feel is much like what insects feel before they kamikaze into the camp fire. They embrace the light alright.

1 comment:

Caleb said...

I have had this conversation with a guy that I have been witnessing to for some time now. He is a catholic. He hates what the church is doing and says that he doesn't believe the main things the church teaches. The reason he won't leave his particular church is that he FEELS "the spirit" in the people at the church. I mean, the people help old lady's cross the street and feed the poor. Satan has blinded his eyes to what Godly spirituality is.