Summary: Spirituality is a term that is much used and equally misunderstood in our time. In the broadest sense, when we define spirituality, we think of that person who is intent on the qualities of soul, whose life is not centered on physical matters such as owni
Series - “Preparing to Prosper”
“God loves to bless His children!” That is the declaration of the Bible, a promise that we can live by. In this series of messages, my aim has been to teach how we position ourselves to stand in the flow of God’s blessing, to live in a way that is prosperous, not so much in financial terms, but in the enjoyment of a life rich in purpose and meaning.
Today I want to talk about the importance of spirituality as a part of the life that God blesses. At first that may strike you as strange. “Why would the Pastor feel the need to talk about spirituality in a church, to a group of people who are in the middle of spiritual activity?” The simple truth is that not every person who claims to be a Christian is anything near truly spiritual. Engaging in the rituals of faith is no guarantee of spirituality!
Jesus alludes to this in his story about home-building told in Matthew 7. He says that some take His words and make them the foundation of their lives, in the process building a life that will withstand storms, trials, and that will ultimately survive death itself. Others just treat His words like decorations, little ‘feel-good’ slogans that make them a bit more attractive, but their basic life values are untouched, uninformed by the wise of the Lord.
He says, “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” (Matthew 7:21- 27, The Message)
Spirituality is a term that is much used and equally misunderstood in our time. In the broadest sense, when we define spirituality, we think of that person who is intent on the qualities of soul, whose life is not centered on physical matters such as owning material goods or enjoying gratification of sensual appetites.
As followers of Christ Jesus, spirituality is much more defined.
Our Lord said that the truly spiritual person is committed to a two-fold expression of his faith-
1. “Love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” and,
2. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Let’s not fall into the mistake of thinking that because this material world is temporary and because it is so marred by the Curse of Sin, that God is only concerned with ethereal things, that spirituality is just a matter of thinking right thoughts and having a right philosophy! This error has been around since the earliest days of Christianity. A person who is truly spiritual understands that his professed love for God is meaningless unless it finds expression in the world with a transformed heart that brings about godly actions! A true Christ-centered spirituality must never be divorced from the way that we live from day to day in this world.
True spirituality goes to the core of our person, making us deep people.
Gordon MacDonald, pastor and author, illustrates this with the story of his grandfather, Thomas MacDonald. Thomas was an engineer who responded to the call of God and turned from building bridges to and became a Bible teacher. Gordon tells of seeing his grandfather engaged in learning the Scripture and teaching it to others. He was a man who was passionate about prayer. He loved God, God’s work, and God’s people.
When Thomas MacDonald was a very old man, in his final year of life, he was living in a convalescent home. Gordon visited him and found that his mind was mostly gone, that he did not know who people were, or even where he was. But the spirit of that man remained intact, described by Gordon as ‘gentle and noble.’