“I’m spiritual, not religious…” is a response I have sometimes heard when talking with enthusiastic spiritual seekers about the Christian faith. The response assumes that Christianity is just ‘organised religion’, and somehow at odds with seeking spiritual enlightenment.
The Founder of Christianity – Jesus the promised Messiah, said this…
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.Gospel of John 6:63, the Bible
Jesus was answering those who had trouble accepting His words about feeding on Him to receive eternal life. He was speaking words that carried spiritual authority. This was no legalistic preacher or mere philosopher. Jesus pointed to Himself as the ‘bread of life’. He rebuked the religious leaders of the day for their hypocrisy – their shows of piety without sincere heart devotion. So Jesus was definitely not seeking ‘religious’ people as such but called people who would worship “in spirit and truth” (also in John’s gospel).
What is real spirituality then? For some, it may be following a certain ‘guru’ and meditation. For some it may be seeking to live a calm life through a regular yoga class. For others, it may be something else. Yet are the bigger questions of life being answered? Questions such as… “is there an afterlife and how is it attained?”; “what is the purpose of our existence?”; “is there objective truth and morality?”; “‘how do I find lasting peace?” We need coherent answers to these big questions, because how we choose to live our lives will have eternal consequences.
The first church gathering in the history of Christianity had a very spiritual kickstart – the outpouring of the Spirit of God which established them with power as witnesses of the resurrected Christ (Messiah). Before Jesus left this earth He told His disciples after His resurrection to wait in Jerusalem to receive God the Father’s promise of the Spirit, who would empower them and guide them. We now become God’s witnesses with power – sons and daughters of the Almighty Creator who would point people to the resurrected Saviour. All who believe now able to commune with our Creator at any time and in any place.
Yet this spiritual life of fellowship with the Lord of heaven and earth, made possible in Jesus, does require us to recognise that we have all gone our own way instead of God’s way and need to get into right relationship with Him.
So the spirituality we ultimately need is the life lived in worship of and fellowship with our Maker – the Author of life. Anything else falls short, because if we only look within ourselves, we find imperfection… and if we look to other imperfect individuals to direct us, they too have a need for transformation as we all do.
He is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.1 John 2:2, the Bible
For further exploration:- Knowing God Personally