Radical Spirituality: The Mark of Faith
Sermon shared by Vance Elzinga
Summary: What are the marks of true spirituality?
Audience: General adults
A few hundred words later Paul writes more about the subject in what has become known as the "Love Chapter." In that chapter he saysÖ
ē (13:2-3) If I have faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is the primary component of the Christian life. Youíve heard the saying, "People donít care how much you know, they want to know how much you care." The same can be said about God. His primary concern for your spiritual growth is not how much you know, but how much you love. When you stand before the throne on judgment day, he wonít say, "Wow! You really knew the Greek. HC! OrÖBoy! You could argue the authorship of Isaiah with the best of them. OrÖWow! You sat in the same pew every Sunday for 57 years." Those arenít the things God is looking for. He wants you to develop a heart full of love towards others and towards him. True spirituality isnít measured merely by how good you are, but by how good you are to others.
True Spirituality is Evidenced by Empathy
What is empathy? According to the dictionary it is: "The capacity to identify with a person .." In other words, it is the ability to put yourself in another personís shoes--to see things from his or her point-of-view.
In discussing the matter of eating food that has been sacrificed to idols, remember that Paul has already stated that it is not a sin. Then he goes on to sayÖ
(v. 9) Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. Legalist? DIFF blkbd items?
A man who had been a Christian for several years told a pastor that his favorite form of relaxation was smoking pot. "Do you see a contradiction between scripture and smoking marijuana?" He said, "No. In fact, scripture allows it." "How in the world..?" He said, "Genesis 1:29. God says, íI give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food."
Now the pastor had him: "It says ífor foodí. You smoke marijuana; you donít eat it." He said, "You havenít tasted my brownies."
This guy was way off base. You can pull any verse out of context and use it to justify practically anything; I do not agree with his conclusion. But even if he were right, Paulís words in verse 9 would apply to him: "Donít use your freedom to cause someone else to stumble." Youíve got to look at everything you do in light of how it affects everyone else. The same can be said for any number of other things. Itís not about how many "questionable" activities you can get away with, itís about being able to recognize the impact your actions have on others.
True spirituality is evidenced by empathy--being able to see the world from anotherís point-of-view. Itís not merely a question of how good you are, itís a question of how good you are to others.
Paul tells us that if we want to be spiritual, we have got to learn to empathize. We will give thought to how our actions affect those around us. Weíll learn to see the world through the eyes of others. Being spiritual is not just about how good you are, itís about how good you are to others.
True Spirituality is Evidenced by Sacrifice
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