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Spiritual?

By Roelf Ruffner

religion, articles, christianity

The term spiritual is much bandied around today. It is used biblically when speaking of things pertaining to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. But even the world has taken a shine to this term and is saying things like "we need to be more spiritual." News commentators talk about "spirituality."

Spirituality Not Found outside of Christianity

God made man a reasoning creature. Our world is a moral wasteland. Many people live empty lives because of indulgence to the flesh and a pandering to the senses. Some have reached within themselves to find some meaning in their lives. They turn to New Ageism (mediums, yoga and mysticism). What they find titillates their emotional needs but brings no peace of mind. Paul wrote of such things as "will worship" (Col. 2:23).

Such people have given up on the King of the Universe and scurry about in the darkness of their own "wisdom." The Bible calls such people fools. "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Rom. 1:21­22).

Jehovah teaches us that there are two spiritual realms in this universe-the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of the devil. One is either in God's kingdom, or in wickedness (1 John 5:19). Those outside of God do not love truth (2 Thess. 2:10­12). They have allowed the "god of this world" to blind them to the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4).

"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Col. 1:8 NKJV).

What Is Spiritual?

We live in a subjective age-where feelings are the guide. Pentecostalism involves the idea that the Holy Spirit operates directly on people today-that the nine miraculous gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8­10 are available now. It does not matter that the Bible says these gifts have been done away (1 Cor. 13:8­10; Jude 3). Misguided, excitable people convince themselves that their emotions-the religious hysteria they promote-are caused by the Holy Spirit.

Christianity is objective. Christians base their faith on the word of God. We can understand the words of the Bible. "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2: 15).

Pentecostalism supplants Bible teaching with emotions. The Lord received authority from the Father and in turn passed on that authority to the apostles (Matt. 16:18­19). Christ told the apostles that after he ascended into heaven he would send the Holy Spirit who would guide them into "all truth" (John 16:13­14). The truth they taught and wrote was confirmed by the Holy Spirit (Mark 16:20; Heb. 2:3­4). When some try to use the Bible to confirm their "gifts" rather the gifts confirming the Bible, they desert Christ and his apostles and become their own authority.

The so-called spirituality of Pentecostalism is vanity. Hand waving, babble, foot stomping, pew jumping, aisle rolling, holy laughter, and dancing appeal to the flesh-not the Spirit. "For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God, neither indeed can it be: and they that are in the flesh can not please God" (Rom. 8:6­8). "Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Cor. 14:40)

Spirituality Is Obedience to the Oracles of God

The spiritual are the humble souls who obey God's commands. It is strange how many in the religious world have stood spirituality on its head. Spirituality is reason (Rom. 12:1). Spiritual (reasonable) service is emotion produced by a rational response to revelation. It is balanced.

Spirituality is not run amuck, out of control, slam-bang, do­what­you­will, wide open, no­holds­barred emotionalism. How sad it is to see otherwise good people mistake spirituality for raw and unbridled passion.

Spirituality, in its deepest sense, is submission to him who learned obedience by his suffering and became the author of eternal salvation to those who obey him (Heb. 5:7­9). Disobedience is carnality; obedience is spirituality.


Published April 1997