Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Owen Waters writes: "The frequency of your inner self’s consciousness exists within a frequency band which is higher than your outer self. When your conscious mind catches even a glimpse of that spiritual essence within you, it becomes excited by the higher frequency. Communicating with your inner self is, by definition, an exhilarating process." Groovy. Far out, man. I googled these exact words---"a very spiritual person"---and got 25, 600 sites. I believe one of if not the most dangerous influences is a false definition or wrong understanding of spirituality. God is a Spirit (John 4:24) and Satan wants us confused about Who He is and how we come into and then stay in fellowship with Him. False spirituality preys on those who are discontent with their own spiritual experience. They want to feel approval from God in a very subjective way. They look for a personal, unique, and validating connection with God.
To fool people about spirituality, Satan uses some of his long proven devices, ones that have already deceived millions of people in Hinduism and Buddhism, essentially Eastern mysticism. Satan provides these feelings and experiences wholesale in the new age movement, mind science cults, psychics, and psychiatry. In a lesser but perhaps more deceptive fashion, they have woven their way into the Charismatic movement and now evangelicalism at large. They have saturated Roman Catholicism for centuries and today even more. They lie at the root of Mormonism and its "burning of the bosom." In varying degrees, they shift spirituality away from objective truth. This is philosophical existentialism, the reality validated by the experience. It must exist because I felt it.
I'm very concerned about the dangers to New Testament Christianity, even as already evidenced through a multitude of practices in churches. Churches create a "spiritual environment" either through fast paced music that will get people excited or through hypnotic new age choruses and "praise songs," among others. Here's the kind of statement one might hear: People want to be done with the fighting and feeling the unity of the spirit between believers, putting aside our differences to find common ground and a blessed intimacy with one another. Not that particular words are necessarily wrong in themselves, but these are the code words that I am most often hearing in the new paradigm of spirituality: passion, desire, intimacy, encounter, deep, vital, rich, warmth, evoke, intense, delight, affection, ardent, deep-hearted, celebration, and energize. Now consider these, not all, but some or one or all: outstretched palms, breathy or soft speech, tambourine, lots of emotion and lack of negativity. Even though they talk about a desire for God, the point is the desire, not God Himself.
The truth is that we have all of God at the moment of salvation and all of our spirituality (2 Peter 1:1-5; Eph. 1:3; Rom. 8:9). God desires us, all of us. When we know Him better through His Word, through His Truth by faith, then we obey Him and submit to Him more. Spirituality doesn't minimize externals to gain some sort of superior spirituality based on feelings. The greatest in His kingdom is the one who keeps the least of His commandments (Mt. 5:19). Spirituality manifests itself in tangible character traits, including bold evangelism, submission to authority, and abstaining from fleshly lusts. People may not "feel spiritual" when they are doing these things, but when they keep doing them out of respect for God, that, folks, is spiritual. Satan the spirit being, wants to dumb spirituality down to something in which many different cultures and beliefs have common ground in their shared experiences, to replace true spirituality with his own.