Spiritual Life

What does a spiritual life look like? How do we know if we are spiritual? How can we tell if someone else is spiritual?

Is spirituality really necessary? Is it necessary to know about someone else’s spirituality?

The answer to the last two questions is YES, it is necessary. The answer to the first three is fraught with difficulty. This article seeks to alleviate some of the difficulty while acknowledging that complete elimination of the difficulties is next to impossible.

The Greek word translated “spiritual” is used 26 times in the New Testament. (You can bypass this article and gain much insight simply by reading and meditating on each of those verses.)

It is necessary for us to determine what spirituality looks like, because of the passage under consideration in this series on the Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 6:1 tells us that the restoration of someone overtaken in a fault is to be restored by those who are spiritual. Obviously, therefore, recognizing spirituality is a prerequisite for this tender endeavor.

I recently read someone’s comment that they point out people’s blind spots. They used Gal. 6:1 as justification for their critical nature. (I’ve known this person for more than 40 years.) Pointing out “blind spots” is not restoration, and is not being spiritual.

Gal. 6:1 follows directly after the listing of the fruit of a spiritual life, which follows after a listing of the works of the flesh. So, there is no change in thought in what Paul is writing about. He is now telling us what a spiritual person should do.

It is in the contrast of the “carnal/spiritual” where we gain the greatest insight as to what a spiritual person looks like.

You know the feeling you have when you are looking for something that you can’t really describe. You know when you see it. You also know when it’s NOT it.

The same is true here. We can tell what spirituality is not by observing the listings of the carnal person.

This is important, because we allow many people to influence our lives who are more carnal than they are spiritual. This is a dangerous practice, because what we are is imparted to others much moreso than what we say. Truth is imparted life to life, not mind to mind. (1 Cor. 15:33)

So, the evidence of carnality should be a warning. The lack of carnality, however, is not solid proof of spirituality.

Many think that because I know so much about the Bible that I am therefore spiritual. That has little or nothing to do with spirituality. I could do that simply with my intellect. Going to church regularly doesn’t prove one spiritual. Praying doesn’t prove one spiritual. Obeying the commandments doesn’t prove one spiritual. All these things may be tools to aid in the development of spirituality, but they are not proof that one is truly spiritual.

The proof of spirituality is in the visible fruit of a spiritually centered life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control.

What do each of these look like?

Is it necessary for one to possess all nine of these in order to be considered spiritual?

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Have a godly day.

Gal. 5:22 tells us what a spiritual person looks like.

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Are You Spiritual?

Are You a Spiritual Person?

Gal 6:1 ESV – Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

There are many who are overtaken in faults within the church today, but they do not get restored. Why is that? Are there no spiritual people in the church? Or, do we not know what it means to be spiritual, and therefore cannot find anyone to restore them? Are preachers the only ones who can be spiritual?

It is those who are spiritual who are to do the restoring. Who are they?

Taken within the context, they are the ones who manifest the previous qualities of the fruit of the spirit (5:16, 22) 

“Spiritual” is an after-Pentecost word—it does not show up in the Gospels nor in the LXX.

There is a difference between being spiritual and being religious. Spiritual = of things pertaining to spirit. Religious = of things pertaining to formal duty.

There are many religious people who are not spiritual.

There are many spiritual people who are not religious.

There are many spiritual people who are religious.

The Bible distinction is not between spiritual/religious (the world has this figured out), but between spiritual/carnal. It is either one or the other. It is not possible to be carnally spiritual or spiritually carnal (1 Cor. 3:1).

We often assume Christian = spiritual. But we know from our experience that is not true. It is possible to be a Carnal Christian (as we can see from this verse in Corinthians).

Now, here is an interesting thing for your consideration: Carnality is defined in the Bible, but spirituality is not!! Spirituality is inferred and implied, but not defined. Carnality, however, is clearly explained.

Characteristics of Carnality: 1Cor. 3: 2-3 

We could say here that Paul is referring to babies, and we know that babies need to be cared for.

Babies–

  • Need milk (1Peter 2:2—there is a place for milk)
  • Can’t eat meat (Heb. 5:12-14)
  • Manifest envying, strife, divisions (1Cor. 3:3) [this usually comes from the main characteristic of the ‘me’ generation–MINE!] {also notice that these are contrary to the fruit of the spirit}

Where does carnality come from? It comes from where you place your mind–what you allow your mind to dwell on. You become what you feed your mind on.

 Rom. 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

The word translated ‘mind ‘ is phroneo (fron-eh’-o); [from NT:5426]; to exercise the mind, i.e. entertain or have a sentiment or opinion; by implication, to be (mentally) disposed (more or less earnestly in a certain direction); intensively, to interest oneself in (with concern or obedience).

How do we move from being carnal to becoming spiritual? By no longer being carnally minded.

1. Repent (metanoia = change your mind) [this is definitely a religious word] Decide that you no longer want to be carnal, but that you want to be spiritual (though not necessarily religious).

2. Reveal–ie, confess your carnality–James 5:16 (exomologeo = speak it out)

3. Renew your mind Rom. 12:2 (Jesus said to cleanse the inside first–Matt. 23:25-26)

4. Replace your thinking style–Col. 3:2

5. Reflect–ie, take control of your thoughts (Phil. 4:8)

Notice that the last three are all about what goes on in your head. This is your area of control.

Someone may say, “But, I have no control over what comes into my mind.”

That may be true. But, you don’t have to pull up a chair and offer that thought any hospitality!

 And anytime you find yourself moving into carnality, you can use this to change your mind and your practice. It may be difficult at first, because you’ve had many years of practicing being carnally-minded. But, stay with it, and you will soon find yourself in a spiritual condition you may have only dreamed about.

NOTE: This is the sixth in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Galatians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter six of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put this link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.