Summary: We begin by looking at the spiritual area of our lives. Is God really in control of our spiritual walk or do we just assume God is? What do we mean by spirituality and is this how God’s Word describes it?
September 14, 2008
Bishop Davis liked to golf and he was pretty good. But at one point, his game started to flounder a little so he swallowed his pride and signed up for golf lessons. When he arrived, he was greeted by the golf pro, who Bishop Davis thought looked like he just graduated from high school. This young guy set up this video camera and feed and then asked Bishop Davis to take a few swings and hit a few balls. Bishop Davis was thinking that he was paying this guy a lot of money for what? To shoot a video?
The young pro told him that was enough and took him into the clubhouse where there was a computer and monitor. He pulled up Bishop Davis on the monitor and split the screed with a clip of Tiger taking a swing and then went through Bishop Davis’s swing, comparing it to Tiger, and picking it apart.
At the end, the Bishop finally asked if there was any main thing that was the problem in his swing. The pro turned a little red and sputtered and avoided for a minute clearly uncomfortable with the diagnosis. Finally he just said, “You have a stagnant bottom, sir.” “I beg your pardon!” “Yes sir, a stagnant bottom. When you swing, your back side, if you will, just sits there doing nothing. If you want the full power of your swing, you need to get your entire body including your bottom into the swing.”
So how’s your spiritual life? How is your walk with God? Suffering from stagnant bottom? How many people are suffering from “stagnant bottoms” because their spiritual life is flat? Maybe even just non-existent? Just going through the motions? They aren’t really getting their bodies into action. We just sit there and say, “Feed me.”
Symbol Area Deadly Sin
Fire Spiritual Pride
Water Emotional Wrath
Oil (anointing) Physical Gluttony
Light Mental Lust
Soil Environmental Sloth
Air Social Envy
Metal (gold) Financial Greed
What does it mean for us to give up to God the spiritual area of our lives? What does this mean to give God control “spiritually?” For that matter, what does it mean to be spiritual?
As we fleshed out this on Tuesday, we looked at several different dynamics and tangents that arise. It was extremely helpful to hear what God was saying through those who were present and I think the participants are going recognize how much more focused things are today. So let’s begin by looking at what does it mean to be spiritual?
What is spirituality?
• Religious but not spiritual.
On Tuesday we looked at some tough passages in Romans that it seems Paul may be communicating some form of this. Paul was a very religious man before following Jesus. He was on fire for God except despite all his intense study of God’s Word, he had failed to understand what God was saying and doing. There is a reason and we will look at this in a moment. Basically Paul would have described himself before his Damascus Road experience as religious but not spiritual.
This could be someone who does all the right things with even the right reasons but never is personally invested in the rituals. Rituals are great. We all have rituals. They bring order and balance. Rituals are great as long as they don’t become ritualistic.
Now I don’t thin anyone would say this about themselves. I’ve never heard anyone say that they were religious but not spiritual. However, this is an observation that the Spirit-filled person makes. Paul saw this because he first say it himself. A second way that people seem to understand spirituality is the reverse.
• Spiritual but not religious.
Ever hear this phrase? There is some truth there. In this perspective, religion is seen as something negative and even detrimental at times to one’s spiritual walk. Common conceptions here might include the idea that I really don’t need a religion or a church or a faith community as long as I still believe in God and sometimes recognize those powerful “spiritual” experiences that might occasional come. Some might even conclude that while God (and this is a Generic God not a name-brand, religious God that we might even call Great Value God) loves them, they really couldn’t possibly talk to God directly even though they are pretty good people who will go to “heaven,” where one doesn’t have to work and every desire is satisfied.
But is that really what it means to be spiritual? It certainly doesn’t sound very healthy or holistic. It doesn’t sound as if one needs to give control to this Great Value God of the spiritual area of one’s life. And this type of “spirituality” in my understanding is far different than what Paul and the early church described as being spiritual.