Tuesday, December 06, 2011

What Does It Mean to be Spiritual?

One of the things I enjoy about doing this blog is the opportunity it gives me to add on to, or embellish, or finish up - things I talked about in my lesson the previous Sunday. Yes, it probably means fewer people are exposed to it, but I like blogging about what is fresh on my mind.
Just to give you the flow of thought, the lesson was about defining spiritual maturity. What does it mean to be spiritual? Spiritual living is maturing in Christ. I believe this is Paul's message in Galatians 5 & 6. Here are the bullet points: (they'll make sense if you read the passage in 6:1-10)

1. It is Restorative, vs.1
2. It Reaches out, vs.2-3
3. It is Responsible, vs.4-5
4. It is Reciprocal, vs.6
5. It is Responsive, vs.7-8
6. it is Resolute, vs.9-10

It'll preach!
The last point about being resolute, is a profound and powerful concept that I wish I'd had time to develop more. It is about who you are as a child of God. It's about keeping things in balance and having the right perspective. It's about the heart and soul of what a church family is all about. We read him saying, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
When you consider that this is his wrap-up after his tough talk about love and grace over law and works, and his call to walk by the Spirit and not by our sinful nature, these are some of the most practical, love oriented, family building, and Christ centered guidelines Paul ever writes. I see three resolute declarations every child of God could/should make.
1. I will never get tired of doing good!
2. I will not give up!
3. I will be Christ-like to everyone, but especially to my spiritual family.

What I didn't have time to point out on Sunday was that these are not just doctrinal statements but way of life statements. When you come from a religious tradition that focuses on being doctrinally correct, sometimes that religions is more talk than walk. A church family that is not committed to helping each other grow in Christ is not really a family of God. It's a theological social club. Doctrine is not unimportant, but it's love that covers a multitude of sin, not having all the answers to all the questions most people never ask. Paul was talking to people who were struggling with legalism. If we focus on being right, we create a new legalism that forgets to do what's right.
Paul says we walk by the Spirit in response to God's grace, and that walk is only defined by the fruit of the Spirit, which is revealed in how we treat others.

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