by Dennis Foust
Recently, a person said to me, “I have no desire to be religious but I enjoy being spiritual.”
This person was shocked when I affirmed them by saying, “I wish every person was spiritual.”
Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person? Whether you answer ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ may depend on your definition of the word, ‘spiritual.’
Let me offer a very personal explanation of the word, ‘spiritual.’ When I describe myself as a spiritual person, I am not referring to a mystical or impractical dimension of life. My study of spiritual living guides me to this understanding: ‘spiritual living is living in relationship with God who is Holy Spirit.’ To live in relationship with God as Holy Spirit compels me to pursue the ethics, morals, principles and perspectives of God’s nature. Because I am committed to follow Jesus as the pattern for my life, I try to embody his teachings and revelation of God’s nature. Since Jesus teaches that God is compassionate and more gracious than people who put limits on God’s grace allow themselves to embrace, I try to relate with others with ethics, morals, principles and perspectives that express compassion and grace.
That said, my spiritual life, like every other human, is imperfect. I fail to be pure in my thoughts, decisions and behaviors. I fall short of God’s best for me. I tumble in my commitment. I mess up and identify with the Apostle Paul who acknowledged about himself in Romans 7:15 – “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
However, God forgives, redeems and guides me in the pathway of salvation and reconciliation. Therefore, while I am not yet what I strive to become, I am no longer what I was in the past.
Being a spiritual person who follows Jesus, I practice the spiritual habits of Jesus. Here are four.
- Prayer – at least 25 times in the Gospels, we read of Jesus praying. He gave us the model prayer which we recite each Sunday during worship.
- Public Worship – Jesus regularly gathered with others to worship The Living God.
- Communal Faith – Jesus related with his disciples and close followers and encouraged us to ‘love one another as he loves us.’
- Service – Jesus came to serve, not to be served and gave us Matthew 25 to guide us.
If you want to experience spiritual growth, pray, express your worship with the congregation, devote yourself to communal faith, and serve other people in the spirit of Jesus. The world has plenty of religious people. We need more spiritual folks.