Summary: Based on "Fully Devoted; Living each day in Jesus’ name by Willow Creek Resource & Zondervan; Session #1
What is True Spirituality?
Hank had attended church since he was a boy and now he was 60 years old. Everyone knew who Hank was, there wasn’t a Sunday that went by that Hank wasn’t in church. The truth however is no one really knew Hank at all. Hank had difficulty loving his wife. His children could not speak freely with him and felt no affection for him. Hank was not concerned about the poor and had little tolerance for those outside the church. Hank also tended to judge those in the church rather harshly. Those kids shouldn’t be running around in the church. Look at what he is wearing to church. Why, I always liked the green carpeting, why change it? If it isn’t broke don’t try to fix it.
On day an elder in the church asked Hank, “Are you happy, Hank?
Without shedding a smile, Hank replied, “Why, Yes?”
The elder then responded, “Well then Hank, you need to tell your face?”
You see Hank’s exterior mirrored his interior. The problem was Hank was not changing? He was not being transformed. But the most remarkable part of it all was, that if you brought this to the congregations attention, the would of simply said, “So.”
No one seemed to care that Hank remained unchanged. There were no emergency board meetings to consider this strange occurrence of a person who was not changing. No one really expected Hank to change, and therefore they were not surprised when that change did not happen.
There were however other expectations of Hank. Everyone expected that each Sunday morning Hank would be at church. He sat there, right were he always sat. The trusted that Hank would take communion like he always did. The congregation knew that Hank would read the scriptures, and give his offering faithfully. Whenever called upon Hank would help with moving the tables and chairs or volunteer on church work days. Hank was a faithful member of his congregation.
But people did not expect that day by day, month by month, decade by decade, Hank would be more transformed into the likeness of Jesus. People did not expect that he would become progressively more loving, joyful, and excited about Christ in His life. So they were not shocked when it did not happen.
Today I want to talk about Spirituality, what it is, and what it means.
Many of us in the restoration movement are simply scared to death about things that deal with our spiritual life. Our mind conjures up images of people rolling in the isles, speaking a bunch of gibberish, raising hands, laughing for no apparent reason, or falling out all over the place shouting, “Praise the Lord.” But if we our honest with ourselves and what the Bible teaches then we know there is a spiritual dimension to our Christian life that we should not ignore.
I. How is Spirituality Wrongly Understood?
“How many people are radically and permanently repelled from The Way by Christians who are unfeeling, stiff, unapproachable, boringly lifeless, obsessive, and dissatisfied? Yet such Christians are everywhere, and what they are missing is the wholesome liveliness springing from a balanced vitality within the freedom of God’s loving rule…”Spirituality” wrongly understood or pursued is a major source of human misery and rebellion against God.” -Dallas Willard, ‘The Spirit of the Disciplines’
-Think of the Irony:
-A spiritual life leading to lifelessness.
-Spiritual growth producing misery.
-A life that supposedly yielded to God, rebelling against Him.
-And yet for many Christians this is the life the have found.
-Are you allowing God to transform your life or have you become a stagnate pool
-God is the giver of life, from the beginning of time God breath into the dust he had shaped in the form of a man and breathing out life.
-Without a fresh supply of water a pond dries up, without the flow of new water, the life within the pond begins to decay and rot, it begins to stink, frogs and parasites infest the pond and fish die.
*I like to hike and one thing you learn as a hiker to always filter your water from a source that is receiving fresh flowing water, if you want to avoid getting sick.
-Jesus called the religious leaders of His day white washed tombs.
-Jeremiah spoke for the Lord saying:
“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13
-Often we try to replace spirituality with religiousity.
-Simply put we try to cover up our inability to allow God to transform us, with an external display of what we think a Christian should look like..
-We think spiritual maturity is about how much biblical or theological information we have acquired.