How important is spiritual growth in the Christian life?
- How important is spiritual growth in Christian life? Spiritual growth is the process of becoming more mature in one’s relationship with Jesus Christ. Someone who is growing spiritually will become more and more like Christ. The spiritually mature will be able to “distinguish good from evil” ( Hebrews 5:14 ). Spiritual growth begins the moment
- 1 What is the spiritual meaning of Jesus?
- 2 What the Bible says about spirituality?
- 3 How does Jesus relate to the Holy Spirit?
- 4 What is spirituality according to Christianity?
- 5 What is Jesus full name?
- 6 What is Jesus real name?
- 7 Is spirituality the same as Christianity?
- 8 Is spirituality a religion?
- 9 What happens when you have a spiritual awakening?
- 10 How is Jesus the image of God?
- 11 What are the 7 works of the Holy Spirit?
- 12 What is the Holy Ghost power?
- 13 Who is a spiritual person in the Bible?
- 14 The Spirituality of Jesus
- 15 Finding your burning bush
- 16 The problem with organized religion
- 17 How we search
- 18 Asking the right questions
- 19 Explore the Series:
- 20 How Seeing Jesus in Scripture Affects Our Spiritual Formation
- 21 Meet the “Spiritual but Not Religious”
- 22 What We Believe About Spiritual Transformation
- 23 Spirituality vs. Jesus
- 24 Spiritual and Religious: The Benefits of Being Both
What is the spiritual meaning of Jesus?
Jesus is the embodiment of God’s rescue. The Greek word “sozo” is what is translated in the New Testament into “saved” as well as “healed” or “made whole” or “delivered” – a complex word that seems similar to that action word ” yeshuah ” that Jesus modeled in His life. He saved, forgave, healed, made alive.
What the Bible says about spirituality?
Biblical spirituality means to be born of God (John 1:12-‐13; John 3:5-‐8; 1 John 4:7), be changed by the grace of Jesus Christ (Rom 12:1-‐2), surrendered and obedient to the Spirit, living according to the Spirit (Rom 8:4-‐11), and consequently empowered by the Spirit to draw others to find life in the Spirit.
How does Jesus relate to the Holy Spirit?
The New Testament details a close relationship between the Holy Spirit and Jesus during his earthly life and ministry. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove during his baptism, and in his Farewell Discourse after the Last Supper Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples after his departure.
What is spirituality according to Christianity?
In Christianity, spirituality means living out a person’s faith. The idea of transformation and mission are also deeply rooted in Christianity. Mission can mean many things, such as a pilgrimage or journey. An example that we talked about in class was going into the desert and fasting.
What is Jesus full name?
What Is Jesus’ Real Name? Indeed, Yeshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus. It means “Yahweh [the Lord] is Salvation.” The English spelling of Yeshua is “Joshua.” However, when translated from Hebrew into Greek, in which the New Testament was written, the name Yeshua becomes Iēsous.
What is Jesus real name?
Jesus’ name in Hebrew was “ Yeshua ” which translates to English as Joshua.
Is spirituality the same as Christianity?
Christianity is a specific type of Religion that has a specific doctrine that it teaches to its followers. Mainly that Jesus died on the cross and that he is the Son Of God and is God. Spirituality is a broad term that basically means you believe in something other than what you can touch, see and hear.
Is spirituality a religion?
What’s the difference between religion and spirituality? Religion: This is a specific set of organised beliefs and practices, usually shared by a community or group. Spirituality: This is more of an individual practice, and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose.
What happens when you have a spiritual awakening?
The spiritual awakening. You begin to clear certain things out of your life (habits, relationships, old belief systems) and invite new, more enriching things in. You may feel like something is missing, but you haven’t quite figured it out yet. During this phase, it’s common to feel lost, confused, and down.
How is Jesus the image of God?
Jesus is the new human and the perfect image of God. Jesus shows us what it truly looks like to live life as the image of God. Through his life, we see that living as an image-bearer means to serve and love others—no matter what they do to us.
What are the 7 works of the Holy Spirit?
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. While some Christans accept these as a definitive list of specific attributes, others understand them merely as examples of the Holy Spirit’s work through the faithful.
What is the Holy Ghost power?
Holy Spirit gives the power of discernment. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, Apostle Paul was able to cast out the spirit of the devil in a certain damsel who had the spirit of divination and brought gain to her boss through soothsaying.
Who is a spiritual person in the Bible?
Received the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:12): Paul refers to spiritual believers as those in whom the Spirit of God dwells to become the fundamental power in that person’s life (cf. Gal. 6:1).
The Spirituality of Jesus
Pay attention to this devotional. You are unable to perceive the truth because you are unfamiliar with the Scriptures and because you do not truly believe that God is able to achieve great things. 12:24 (Matthew 12:24) (From “The Voice”) Kwai Chang Caine was the first individual who drew my attention to the idea of spirituality. David Carradin played him in the fictitious television seriesKung Fu, in which he appeared as himself. Caine, who was trained by Master Poto from an early age to become a Shaolin Monk, demonstrated mystery and skill throughout his life.
Unfortunately, for some, Kung Fu was a more significant spiritual effect on my early life than anything I learned from my Christian parents.
Finding your burning bush
Caine led an adventurous life, overcoming the tough and perilous via the mysticism of spirituality, which enabled him to achieve success. This has given me a lot of ideas. It piqued my interest and piqued my want to learn more. Perhaps the television series Kung Fu served as my “burning bush,” that moment when we are forced to confront our own spirituality. 2 The angel of the Lord came to him in the form of flames of fire from within a bush while he was there. Moses saw that, despite the fact that the bush was on fire, it did not burn.
Exodus 3:2–3 is a biblical passage (NIV) In retrospect, it’s amusing to reflect on how, despite residing with the middle of a Midwest metropolis awash in churches, it was the Buddhism of a Shaolin Monastery that piqued my attention as a means of finding spiritual fulfillment.
My observation that if there was a real sacred scripture, it would be the Bible rather than the Buddhist Sutras was in direct contrast with this conclusion.
How could Christians have the most academically honest and coherent sacred scripture, yet individuals who believed in it lacked the spirituality I observed in other religious traditions.
My personal experience and decision are not uncommon; this is something that will be discussed further later; however, for the time being, it is important for Christians to recognize that those who choose not to attend church frequently have legitimate spiritual and intellectual reasons for doing so.
The problem with organized religion
5 possessing a semblance of holiness but denying its authority. People like these should not be associated with. 2 Timothy 3:5 (New International Version) (NIV) Since becoming a Christian, I’ve thought a lot about my own religious path, as well as the journeys of others who are similar to me. With the intellectual consistency and honesty of the Bible, the topic of “Why Christianity?” has been on my mind recently. It appears that individuals looking for spirituality are underwhelmed by Christianity despite its intellectual consistency and honesty.
- If you want to go to church, then Christianity is the religion for you; but, if you want to experience the power of spirituality, then you should seek out another faith.
- There is no shortage of profound spiritual mystery, engagement, and activity when one reads the Scriptures.
- This is an issue that is directly addressed in the Scriptures.
- When we accomplish this, Christianity is transformed into a humanistic endeavor that is dependent on human intelligence and effort.
- Galatians 3:1-3 describes the circumstances under which this occurs.
- You’ve been cursed by someone, but who is it?
- 2 Allow me to pose this one question to you: Did you receive the Holy Spirit as a result of your obedience to the law of Moses?
- It was because you believed the message about Christ that you were given the Holy Spirit.
- How come, after embarking on your new spiritual journeys, you are now attempting to achieve perfection through your own human efforts?
- 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing?
- Galatians 3:4–5 (NIV84) (NIV84) This power from God is only accessible when we are spiritual.
Without it, God’s church becomes just another human organization – which is what people hate and call “organized religion.” In this form, Christianity will only be attractive to those in attendance, because those seeking God are usually looking for something spiritual not humanistic.
How we search
Everything has been made lovely by him in its own time. He has also implanted eternity in the human heart, although no one can comprehend the scope of God’s deeds from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 New International Version What I’ve learnt through my own spiritual path as well as the experiences recounted to me by others is that God has placed “eternity in the human heart,” as the saying goes. Our awareness and longing for the spiritual, the invisible, the eternal have been piqued by him.
- This God created us in all of our variety from a single original person, enabling each culture to grow at its own pace and providing each with its own unique environment in which to live and prosper in its own way.
- This was God’s intention in all this.
- Acts 17:26-27 is a biblical passage.
- We experience spiritual stirrings and a piqued interest in the unseen.
We have an instinctive understanding that God is spiritual, and as a result, we seek him out in the “holy realm of spirituality.” 23 However, the hour is approaching, and it is already here, when real worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him in this manner.
We have a feeling of and an understanding of spirituality, albeit we do not necessarily associate it with religion or religious institutions.
According to their findings, “the surge in spirituality has occurred among both extremely religious persons and those who are not associated with any religious group.” Their polls “find that the general populace in the United States appears to be becoming a little less religious – but also a little more spiritual.” In reality, individuals who are seeking the spiritual are seen as religious by the Scriptures, because the Bible identifies faith with God first and the organization second, rather than the other way around.
It is impossible for an organization to be God’s church unless it have the spirituality necessary to seek and know God.
It implies that we must assess ourselves in terms of our spirituality – specifically, our ability to connect with God’s presence and power.
24 If, on the other hand, an unbeliever or an inquirer enters while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of wrongdoing and brought before the congregation for judgment, 25 because the secrets of their hearts are revealed.
In fact, it is the spiritual lives of the individuals, rather than the quality of the facilities or programs, that draws the most people who are looking for them.
Asking the right questions
His timing is impeccable, and everything is lovely as a result of his efforts. Nobody, however, can comprehend what God has done from the beginning to the end. He has also placed eternity in the human heart. New International Version (NIV) Ecclesiastes 3:11 From my own spiritual path as well as the experiences recounted to me by others, I’ve discovered that God has “put eternity in the heart of the human being.” It is because of him that we have developed a spiritual sense and a craving for what is spiritual, invisible, and everlasting.
Ultimately, his goal in all of this was for everyone from every culture and faith to look for this ultimate God, to grope for Him as though in the dark, in the hope of discovering Him.
Verse 26 and 27 in Acts 17:26 and 27.
Spiritual stirrings arise in us, as well as a piqued interest in the unexplainable.
We have an instinctive understanding that God is spiritual, and as a result, we seek him out in the “holy realm of spirituality.”‘ 23 Nevertheless, the hour is approaching, and it has already arrived, when sincere worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, because the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
- (ESV) We are aware that there is something more than ourselves out there, and our soul yearns for and strives for that something greater than ourselves.
- People’s desire for spirituality rather than church, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, is more instinctual than seeking church.
- In reality, people who are seeking the spiritual are seen as religious by the Scriptures, because the Bible identifies faith with God first and with the organization second, and with the individual seeking the spiritual is not.
- Which raises the question of what this means for Christians and their churches.
- God’s presence among us will be demonstrated in this manner to the unbelieving.
- Consequently, they will prostrate themselves before God, exclaiming: “God is indeed among you!
In summary, it is the spiritual lives of the individuals, rather than the quality of the facilities or programs, that attracts the most people who are looking for help.
- Why do you believe we need “burning bush” experiences every once in a while? Do you require your first one, or do you require a new one for a new stage of your career? (Exodus 3:2–3)
- And Do you consider Christianity to be more about organizations or about spirituality, as opposed to both? What impact has this had on your perception of God and the church? As a practicing “humanistic Christian,” how do you see yourself evolving, and how might you become a more spiritual person in the course of your faith? Paul writes in II Timothy 3:5 that What do you think “the holy place of spirituality” is, and what do you think you need to do to be able to enter this area on a more frequent basis? (See also John 4:23-24.) Identify the ways in which misinformation or misrepresentations of the faith may have caused your view of Christianity to be confused or degraded in some manner. What impact has this had on your faith? What can you do to concentrate and refresh your understanding of Christianity in order to make it more accurate?
Explore the Series:
- In Part One, we discuss how we search
- In Part Two, we discuss awakenings
- In Part Three, we discuss being aware
- In Part Four, we discuss being active
- In Part Five, we discuss believing.
How Seeing Jesus in Scripture Affects Our Spiritual Formation
In Part One, we discuss how we search; in Part Two, we discuss awakenings; in Part Three, we discuss being aware; in Part Four, we discuss being active; and in Part Five, we discuss believing.
How Typology Helps Us See Jesus
In Part One, we discuss how we search; in Part Two, we discuss awakenings; in Part Three, we discuss being aware; in Part Four, we discuss being active; in Part Five, we discuss believing
What Lambs Reveal About Jesus
The lamb is considered to be the most important animal in the Bible. While we prefer to think of lambs as young sheep, the Bible refers to both sheep and goats that are between the ages of one and three years old when the term lamb is used. “All of the lambs in the Old Testament direct us toward one specific lamb, “the Lamb of God,” as Nancy Guthrie puts it (John 1:29). “I don’t believe it would be an exaggeration to argue that if we do not get the tale of the Lamb,” Guthrie continues, “we will be unable to grasp the story of the Bible.” Lambs, which are one of the most prominent symbols in Scripture, can enhance our knowledge of typology since they are a kind of animal.
- In what ways do you believe Abel’s sacrificial lambs were a type of Jesus, and why do you think that is?
- All of this bears striking similarities to Christ’s atoning death on the cross.
- Think “crown of thorns.” The Passover lamb—As Paul stated, Jesus is the Passover lamb for everyone who believe (1 Cor.
- Continue reading each of the following references to the Passover lamb in Exodus 12 as well as the corresponding New Testament texts.
- What is the relationship between the allusions in Exodus and the comparable NT passages?
- One household’s guilt was atoned for by the blood of a lamb (v. 3) In accordance with John 1:29, the Lamb must be without blemish (v. 5) — 1 Peter 1:18-19
- Lamb died on the 14th day of the month of Nisan (v. 6) — John 13:1
- Lamb killed at twilight (v. 6) — Matt. 27:46
- Lamb killed at twilight (v. 6) — John 13:1
Examining such usage of the word “lamb” as types of Christ will assist us in learning the concepts of biblical typology and developing our capacity to recognize Christ throughout the Bible.
Self-Assessment on Seeing Jesus in Scripture
“We do not go to the Old Testament just to establish the historical context for Christ and his mission, nor even to identify allusions that foreshadow him,” says a quote for consideration. We must look for Christ throughout the Old Testament—not just here and there, but throughout.” –Albert Mohler, in his own words Reading the Bible in the way Jesus intended, with Christ as its primary theme, is defined as “seeing Jesus in Scripture.” Meditation: Think about the following passage: “All of this occurred in order to fulfill what the Lord had previously spoken to us through the prophet:’The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel,’ (which literally means ‘God with us’).” (See Matthew 1:22 for further information.) Evaluation—Explain, in your own words, what it means for the Scriptures to provide witness to Jesus’ divinity and humanity.
- What impact does this have on your interpretation of the Old Testament texts?
- What is the significance of reading the Old Testament for your spiritual formation?
- What lessons have I gained from reading Proverbs about how to live like Jesus?
- If I were to pick three things that Old Testament prophesy taught us about Jesus, I would say Do I grasp the notion of biblical typology and why it is important in my ability to recognize Jesus in the Bible?
- What role does the creation narrative have in my understanding of Jesus?
- Which books of the Old Testament do I find the most difficult to navigate to Christ’s presence?
Note: This essay is based from Joe Carter’s new book, The NIV Lifehacks Bible: Practical Tools for Successful Spiritual Habits, which was published this month (Zondervan, 2016).
Meet the “Spiritual but Not Religious”
“I’m spiritual but not religious,” says the author. You’ve probably heard it before, and maybe even said it yourself. But what exactly does that imply in practice? Is it possible to be one without the other? Religious and spiritual terms, which were once considered equivalent, are now used to define two seemingly separate (though occasionally overlapping) areas of human activity. Individualism, along with the twin cultural tendencies of deinstitutionalization, has shifted many people’s spiritual practices away from the public rituals of institutional Christianity and toward the private experience of God within themselves.
Who exactly are they?
How do they incorporate their faith into their daily lives?
Barna developed two key groups that fit the “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR) description in order to get at a sense of spirituality outside of the context of institutional religion.
Despite the fact that some self-identify as members of a religious religion (22 percent Christian, 15 percent Catholic, 2 percent Jewish, 2 percent Buddhist, and 1 percent other faith), they are in many respects irreligious – particularly when we look at their religious activities in further detail.
Due to the inaccuracy of affiliation as a measure of religiosity, this definition takes into consideration.
A second group of “spiritual but not religious” individuals was created in order to better understand whether or not a religious affiliation (even if it is irreligious) might influence people’s beliefs and practices.
This group still describes themselves as “spiritual,” although they identify as either atheists (12 percent), agnostics (30 percent), or unaffiliated (the remaining 30 percent) (58 percent ).
This is a more restrictive definition of the “spiritual but not religious,” but as we’ll see, both groups share important characteristics and reflect similar trends despite representing two very different types of American adults—one of whom is more religiously literate than the other—as we’ll see in the next section.
However, even if you are still affiliated with a religion, if you have disassociated yourself from it as a key element of your life, it appears to have minimal influence over your spiritual activities.
They nevertheless strongly identify with their religious religion (they believe their religious faith is “extremely significant in my life today”), even if they do not attend church, according to Barna’s definition of loving Jesus but not the church.
As we’ll see below, however, those who identify as “spiritual but not religious” have far wider notions about God, spiritual activities, and religion than those who identify as “religious.” The spiritual but non-religious have far wider conceptions of God, spiritual activities, and religion than the religious yet spiritual.
- Southwestern and liberal demographics are on the rise.
- There aren’t many surprises when it comes to the demographics of this region.
- Women, in general, have a stronger connection to religion and spirituality than males.
- They are mostly Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, however the first group is significantly older and the second group is slightly younger than the first due to the fact that less young people choose to connect with a religion.
- Conservative politics and religious belief do tend to go hand in hand, but there is an extremely sharp gap.
- God is being redefined.
When it comes to God, they are just as likely to believe that he represents a state of higher consciousness that a person can attain (32 percent versus 22 percent) as they are to believe that he represents an all-knowing, all-perfect creator of the universe who rules over the world today (all of the above) (20 percent and 30 percent ).
- As a result, these points of view are undoubtedly out of the ordinary.
- They are also significantly less likely (41 percent and 42 percent, respectively) to believe that God is everywhere compared to either practicing Christians (92 percent) or evangelicals (92 percent) (98 percent ).
- This appears to be expected.
- But it’s worth noting that there is disagreement among them about what constitutes “God” for the spiritual but not religious, which is probably precisely the way they like it.
- What constitutes “God” for those who are spiritual but not religious is up for debate.
- Religious Beliefs that are ambivalent Those who identify as “spiritual but not religious” are, by definition, religiously disinclined, and the research confirms this in a variety of ways.
- Second, both groups are divided on the value of religion in particular (54 percent and 46 percent disagree, and 45 percent and 53 percent agree) (i.e.
So what is the source of this ambivalence?
It is believed that institutions are repressive, particularly in their attempts to define reality, which has prompted a larger cultural resistance to them.
Second, because they are functional outsiders, their conception of religious difference is far more liberal than that of their religious counterparts.
Once again, the phrase “spiritual but not religious” avoids a clear definition.
It is their belief that there is truth in all religions, and they do not believe that any single religion can claim to have a monopoly on ultimate reality.
However, to be spiritual but not religious means to have a spirituality that is very personal and private.
Only a small percentage of the two spiritual but not religious groups (9 percent and 7 percent, respectively) discuss spiritual subjects with their friends on a regular basis.
They are spiritually nourished on their own—and in the great outdoors.
However, they continue to engage in a variety of spiritual rituals, albeit in a haphazard manner.
They find spiritual sustenance in more informal activities such as yoga (15 percent and 22 percent of the population), meditation (26 percent and 34 percent of the population), as well as quiet and / or isolation (26 percent and 32 percent ).
And why not, given the genuine sense of personal autonomy that may be acquired by spending time outside?
What the Findings of the Study Imply “In a recent research on persons who ‘love Jesus but don’t love the church,’ we looked at what religious faith looks like outside of the context of institutional religion.
“We’re looking at what spirituality looks like outside of religious faith.” “While this may appear to be a matter of semantics or technical jargon, we discovered significant disparities between the two groups.
The former nevertheless adhere to their Christian beliefs tenaciously; they simply do not place any significance on the church as a component of those beliefs.
“They each account for the same percentage of the population,” Stone explains.
Religious attitudes are unquestionably more friendly toward those who love Jesus but dislike the church, and they are likely to be more amenable to re-joining the church as a result.
Similarly, two-thirds of individuals who have no religious faith at all do not define themselves as spiritual (65 percent), and the majority of those who have renounced religious religion do not identify as spiritual (65 percent).
With such a desire, it is possible to get into profound spiritual talks and eventually become open to hearing about Christian spirituality.
Their scars and mistrust against the church will originate from diverse sources, just as their idea of spirituality will be varied as well.
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Concerning the Investigation Among the interviews with individuals in the United States were 1281 web-based surveys that were administered to a representative sample of adults over the age of 18 in each of the 50 states.
At a 95 percent confidence level, the sampling error for this study is plus or minus 3 percentage points, depending on the sample size.
Millennials are people who were born between 1984 and 2002.
Baby Boomers are those who were born between 1946 and 1964.
Those who attend a religious service at least once a month, who express that their faith is extremely important in their life, and who self-identify as Christians are considered to be practicing Christians.
It is claimed that they have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today,” that their faith is very important in their lives today; that when they die, they will be admitted to Heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior; that they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; that Satan exists; and that et cetera.
Whether or not you are classified as an evangelical is not based on your church attendance, the denominational affiliation of the church you attend, or your sense of self-identity.
Spiritual but Not Religious1: Those who identify as spiritual but do not place a high value on their religious beliefs in their everyday life.
Barna’s background Barna Research is a private, non-partisan, for-profit corporation that operates under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies.
For more than three decades, Barna Group has conducted and analyzed primary research to better understand cultural patterns linked to values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The company is based in Ventura, California. Barna Group published a report in 2017 titled
What We Believe About Spiritual Transformation
A brief description of the fundamental ideas that serve as the foundation for our approach to spiritual change is provided below (spiritual formation). Christ Is Being Formed in Us. For the glory of God, for the fullness of our own lives, and for the sake of others, spiritual change is the process by which Christ is produced in us. (Galatians 4:19; Romans 8:29; Romans 12:1; Galatians 4:19; Galatians 12:2) In the gospel message, the prospect that human people might be transformed to the point where they resemble Christ is essential, and as a result, it is essential to the mission of the Church.
(See also Romans 12:2) Renewing one’s mentality.
The Greek wordnous (translatedmind in Romans 12:2) refers to knowledge that is intellectual or cognitive in nature, but extends far beyond that.
It is also known as the “third eye.” To be effective in bringing about real change, any transformation strategy must go beyond merely grasping information at the cognitive level to full knowledge that impacts our deepest inner orientations and trust structures, false-self patterns, and any other obstacles that prevent us from fully surrendering to God.
- It is the work of the Holy Spirit.
- After being saved, the seed of the Christ life (which includes “all we need for life and godliness”) is planted within us, and if the conditions are perfect, that seed will develop and thrive in our lives.
- To guide us into truth as far as our hearts and minds are capable of bearing it (John 15 and 16), the third part of the Trinity has been entrusted with the task of communicating the depths of God.
- The wind of the Spirit blows where it wills, regardless of where you are.
- The first is the process by which an embryo is created in its mother’s womb: “I am in labor until Christ beformed (morphoo) in you,” the apostle Paul writes.
- No matter how much we believe we know about the process of conception and delivery, it is always a miracle.
- Every time.
Similarities may be seen between this and the process of transformation, to which Paul alludes in Romans 12:2.
The Greek word metamorphoo refers to the process by which a caterpillar enters the darkness of a cocoon in order to emerge, finally, transformed almost beyond recognition from the other side.
While cognitive comprehension of the process of metamorphosis appears to be important, something more basic and God-ordained appears to be at work throughout the caterpillar’s change.
Even while both the creation of an embryo in its mother’s womb and the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly occur as natural processes in the physical universe, there is something about both that is divine in nature.
All of the doctrines and beliefs that we hold to be fundamental to our Christian faith are described as mysteries at some point in scripture.
The Mystery (Ephesians 1:9), the Mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:4), the Mystery of the Gospel (Ephesians 6:19), the Mystery of Marriage as it is applied to Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:31, 32), and the Mystery of Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27) are all mysteries that God has revealed to us.
- If we aren’t comfortable with mystery, we aren’t comfortable with the very message that we are attempting to proclaim.
- We are confident that we shall become more like Christ, but we are unable to foretell exactly what the person of Christ living in and through us will look like or where it will lead us.
- Despite the fact that we cannot change ourselves into the image of Christ, we may create the conditions in which spiritual development might take place.
- When it comes to spiritual activities, they are not a means of earning brownie points with God or demonstrating our spiritual superiority to others.
- Spiritual disciplines, on the other hand, are tangible acts that we engage in in order to make ourselves ready for the job that only God is capable of performing.
- The Bible says in Romans 12:1 that The author is implying that we might be proactive in creating the conditions for change by engaging in disciplines that help us devote ourselves to God — not only in theory, but in practice as well.
- Afterwards, God takes this modest sacrifice of ourselves and does the impossible with it, creating within us deeply embedded habits of love, peace, and pleasure in the Holy Spirit.” Novare Perspective (April 1999) describes the process as follows: The Importance of Belonging to a Group.
- It takes place in community with others.
- 12th chapter of I Corinthians It is always in the context of community that Paul’s teaching on spiritual development in Romans 12 and the other epistles is given—the body of Christ with its numerous members, to name just one example.
- No one’s spiritual talents are given to them primarily for their personal gain or self-aggrandizement; rather, they are provided so that we might be agents of grace for one another, therefore strengthening the Body of Christ, of which we are merely a part.
P.145 of the book Invitation to a Journey) While our spiritual practices undoubtedly include private disciplines (solitude and silence, prayer and meditation, scripture, self-examination and confession, retreat, spiritual direction), in order to be effective, they must also include disciplines in community (corporate prayer and worship, teaching, communion, Sabbath, hospitality, caring for those in need, spiritual friendship and direction), as well as disciplines of engagement with the world (social justice, environmental justice, peacemaking, and environmental conservation) (evangelism, caring for the poor, compassion, justice, etc.) Because It’s for the Sake of Others.
Both an end in itself in the sense that it brings glory to God and a means to other ends in the sense that it enables us to mediate the presence of Christ to others and discern loving action in the world, spiritual transformation is both an end in itself and a means to other ends in that it allows us to mediate the presence of Christ to others and discern loving action in the world.
In Mark 12:30, 31; I Corinthians 12, and 1 John 4:7, it is stated that Sharing our faith (evangelism), giving generously of our resources, reconciliation and peacemaking (both interpersonally and across lines of race, gender, socioeconomic status, and people groups), working for justice, exercising compassion and care for the poor, and working for the betterment of life in the human community are all examples of loving presence and action in the world in Jesus’ name.
The purpose of all authentic Christian spiritual development is to bring glory to God, to increase the abundance of our own lives, and to serve the needs of others; otherwise, it is not Christian spiritual formation at all.
For this, we toil and battle with all of the energy that God so forcefully instills in us to accomplish our goals. Dr. Ruth Haley Barton published a paper in 2011 titled It is not permitted to be duplicated without written authorization.
Ruth Haley Barton
(Doctor of Divinity, Northern Seminary) is the Transforming Center’s founding president and chief executive officer. She is the author of numerous books and resources on the spiritual life, including Life Together in Christ, Pursuing God’s Will Together, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Sacred Rhythms, andInvitation to Solitude and Silence. She is a teacher, seasoned spiritual director (Shalem Institute), and retreat leader.
Spirituality vs. Jesus
The term “spirituality” does not sit well with me. It has the ring of something external and optional. Nowhere in the first century, and certainly nowhere in Eastern Christianity, do I come across such an idea. What Christians currently refer to as “spirituality” is, as far as I can gather, the same thing as what St. Paul meant by “life in Christ.” This is a transition that every Christian should be going through, because we are all “partakers of the divine nature,” as the Bible says (2 Peter 1:4).
- His light spreads throughout us like fire through coal, and as a result, we are transformed into Christ-bearers for the rest of the world.
- It was not uncommon for early Christians to refer to “spirituality,” much less to different types of spirituality that were suited for different types of personalities, ethnic backgrounds, and gender.
- Because Christ is One, each of us is engaging in the light of the One Christ, and spirituality is precisely the same for everyone in one sense because Christ is also One.
- Consequently, although the oneness of Christ implies that there is only one potential spirituality, there are as many varied spiritualities as there are billions of individuals who live and have lived in the past, present, and future.
- The aspect of contemporary spirituality that irritates me the most is its proclivity towards narcissistic self-promotion.
- This, of course, causes a snag in your progress.
- Even while it looks that someone is extremely intentionally involved with spiritual topics, it might just be that they are starting a new beauty regiment.
- Spirituality is a problematic phrase since it reifies something that should be ignored rather than glorified.
- Everything should be focused on the irresistible beauty of our Lord, and the only thing that propels us ahead is our desire for him.
As a result, my counsel is to avoid attempting to increase one’s spirituality or even one’s prayer life. Simply pursue the Lord Jesus Christ and keep your gaze fixed on him at all times.
Spiritual and Religious: The Benefits of Being Both
‘Spiritual but not religious’ is a term used by many individuals today, but is it really that simple (or healthy) to distinguish between spirituality and religious practice? Certainly not, according to James Martin SJ, who explains why religion should not be disregarded so easily in an excerpt from his famous book, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, published in 2012. This is the age of spirituality; everyone, from your college roommate to the guy who works in the cubicle next to yours and the topic of every other celebrity interview, appears to be spiritual these days.
- This is typically articulated as follows: ‘I’m spiritual but not religious,’ says the speaker.
- Being’religious’ is defined as adhering to esoteric rules and unalterable dogmas, as well as being a tool of an authoritarian institution that forbids you from using your own judgment or reasoning.
- Thomas Aquinas, Moses Maimonides, Dorothy Day, and Reinhold Niebuhr, to learn of this development.
- For example, St.
- Teresa of vila, Rumi and the Rev.
- Martin Luther King, Jr would have been shocked by this development.
- Sadly, religion is in reality responsible for many maladies in the current world and horrors throughout history: among them the persecution of Jews, interminable wars of religion, the Inquisition, not to mention the religious intolerance and zealotry that leads to terrorism.
Religion has a human and sinful element to it, as religions are human organizations that are prone to committing wrongdoing.
Some believe that religion falls short when weighed against other factors.
Consider the generosity of saints and saintly women such as St.
Teresa of vila, St.
In addition to the Abolitionist, women’s suffrage, and civil rights movements, all of which were built on overtly religious beliefs, you may mention the abolitionist, women’s suffrage, and civil rights movements.
As well as Jesus of Nazareth.
Despite the fact that he frequently criticized religious customs of his time, he was a sincerely pious man.
Michael Novak, in his book No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers, points out that, while many atheist philosophers encourage us to investigate everything, especially the record of organized religion, atheists frequently neglect to evaluate their own record, which he describes as follows: Consider the cruelty and murder committed by totalitarian governments that have professed’scientific atheism’ during the course of the twentieth century alone.
- The Soviet Union under Stalin came to mind.
- Moreover, when I consider examples of religion’s negative consequences, I think of the English author Evelyn Waugh, who was a brilliant writer but who was also, according to many, an unlikable person in his personal life.
- Consider how much worse I would be if I were not a Christian, as Waugh put it.
- ‘Spiritual,’ on the other hand, suggests that you may be yourself in front of God since you have been liberated from superfluous dogma.
You meditate at a Buddhist temple (which is wonderful); you participate in Passover seders with Jewish friends (which is also wonderful); you sing in a gospel choir at a local Baptist church (which is wonderful again); and you attend Midnight Mass at a Catholic church on Christmas Eve (which is also wonderful) (also great).
- Furthermore, there is no single creed that encompasses all that you believe.
- While being’spiritual’ is unquestionably beneficial, being ‘not religious’ may be another way of stating that religion is something that only you and God can understand.
- Because doing so would imply that you are only communicating with God.
- We all have a tendency to believe that we are correct on the majority of issues, and spirituality is no exception.
- Consider the situation of a person who wishes to follow Jesus Christ on her own.
- If she were a member of a mainstream Christian community, however, she would be reminded that suffering is a part of the Christian life, even for the most ardent of followers of Christ.
- When she experiences financial difficulties, she may decide to abandon God, who has failed to provide her own needs.
Having the knowledge of a religious heritage may be quite beneficial when dealing with difficult situations.
‘I have faith in God,’ she stated.
I can’t recall the last time I attended a religious service.
It’s a kind of Sheilaism.
Certain ‘New Age’ movements have their sights set not on God or on the greater good, but on self-improvement — a noble objective, but one that may easily devolve into selfishness if not pursued with caution.
Religious institutions, on the other hand, must be held accountable for their actions.
Religious societies, like individuals who are never questioned, can make terrible mistakes when they are sure that they are carrying out ‘God’s plan.
They may even urge us to grow complacent in our assessment of others’ actions.
As a result, those prophetic voices summoning their communities to a constant state of self-critique are always difficult for the institution to hear, but they are very vital.
The Jesuits, on the other hand, make a pledge to themselves that they will not “aspire” to positions of authority inside their own organization.
A healthy tension exists between the wisdom of our religious traditions and our tendency to believe that we know everything; and the ability of prophetic persons to regulate the inherent tendency of institutions to reject change and progress.
In addition to stories from other believers, religion gives us with something else we require: a way to grasp God more fully than we could on our own.
He may have captured the essence of the situation the best.
While this is going on, you are being corrected when you require it.
People can be influenced by religion to commit awful things.
To summarize: contrary to popular belief, and despite the hubris that often infects religious organizations, religion at its best instills humility in its followers.
All human beings have a natural yearning to be with one another, and this desire applies to the act of worshiping as well.
God can also be experienced via one’s own personal connections with others in the community.
Finding God frequently takes place in the context of a community – with a ‘we’ as frequently as a ‘I.’ For many people, this is a place of worship such as a church, a synagogue, or a mosque.
Finally, religion implies that your understanding of God and the spiritual life can more easily transcend your own individual understanding and imagination, which is a positive development.
That’s OK if it helps you grow more spiritually connected to God or a more moral individual.
Here’s an illustration: In the novitiate, I came upon the image of the ‘God of Surprises,’ which became one of my favorite representations of God.
It’s a God who appears to be having a good time.
It was given to me by David, my spiritual director, who had read it in a book by the same title by an English Jesuit named Gerard W.
David had read it in a book by the same title by an English Jesuit named Gerard W.
When I read the climax of Mariette in Ecstasy, one of the great modern spiritual books, that picture was heightened even further for me.
Thérèse of Lisieux, a French Carmelite saint. At the conclusion of the novel, Mariette, who has been away from the convent for many years, writes to her old novice mistress, reassuring her that God is still communicating with her via her.
We try to be formed and held and kept by him, but instead he offers us freedom. And now when I try to know his will, his kindness floods me, his great love overwhelms me, and I hear him whisper, Surprise me.
Three Jesuit priests, as well as the religious imagination of a Catholic writer, influenced my conceptions of God as a God who surprises and a God who waits for surprises. In other words, religion inspired me to come up with that concept. Overall, being spiritual and being religious are both aspects of being in a connection with God that must be considered together. Neither can be realized to its full potential without the other. Religion devoid of spirituality devolves into a sterile list of dogmatic assertions that are disconnected from the life of the spirit.
Spirituality without religion can devolve into a state of self-satisfaction that is disconnected from the knowledge of a society.
This is an excerpt from James Martin SJ’s book, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, which is available online (HarperOne, 2010).