Last month (see here), on January 29th, we looked at the occurrence of a species known as “carnal Christians.” To be in such a grouping is very dangerous. What all Christians should be aspiring to, is to be spiritual.
So what is the key to being released form the wearisome position of being a carnal Christian; a babe in Christ? Or alternatively we might phrase it; how do we become spiritual? In fact the latter question perhaps the best way to approach the matter because it draws us out on to the right track. Two things can be suggested as the keys to spirituality being formed and found in a person. These are prayerfulness and teachableness.
True prayer to the true God is by definition a spiritual activity. In prayer we reach away for the things of the flesh and of self to the things of the Spirit and of God. Actually a prayerful person is bound to become a truly spiritual person. So do you delight to pray in the Spirit according to the pattern of the Saviour (see Luke 11:2-4)? If so then you are spiritual.
This does not happen automatically though; we have to work at it. In fact, to understand prayer aright we have to realize that at its heart is a relationship; a relationship with our Father God and our Saviour the LORD Jesus. Like all relationships they have to be given time and commitment. So how much time do we give each day to spending with our God and Father? Most of us would confess that our lives are busy. However, if this busyness keeps us from prayer to our Father then we are too busy and we must alter our schedule.
Teachableness is a precious jewel to find in someone’s life. It is a terribly sad thing to see someone hear God’s Word, grasp it’s meaning and then say they will not have it and do not want to obey it. This is a fleshly or carnal attitude. On the other hand a great example of a spiritual person is found with Ezra in the Old Testament. It is said Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it (Ezra 7:10a). How that should be true of all of us when we come to church and at any time when we come to God’s Word. When we have a heart to seek God through His Word God, then, we are spiritual and will become more spiritual.
Accordingly, a teachable person has at their heart a love for the Bible; they love the Word of God and they love the God who gave the Word. They can say with Job that I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food. (Job23:12). In order to be teachable then there is a pre-condition and that is that we must have a high view of scripture. If we do not believe in the divine inspiration of scripture then we are unlikely to long to be taught by God through its pages. Paul says to Timothy and we should take heed that All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2.Tim. 3:16-17). So on all occasions we must say with Isaiah To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20).
Oh for more prayerful and teachable people among us. Oh for more spiritual people among us. Let each of us aspire to live in a God-centered spiritual way
Such should be our goal. However, if we are not all spiritual in the church then there will inevitably be conflict. An example to seen in the history of Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac was the spiritual man born according to the promise of God. Ishmael was the fleshly man born according to the operation of the flesh. Paul using their example to illustrate a point says: But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free (Gal. 5:29-31).
Let us then heed this call and get rid of all worldliness, all carnality, all that is of the flesh and all that is according to the mere ways of man, from our lives and from the church. The onus is on each of us to be prayerful and teachable so that we would be spiritual and then there will be great progress for God among us.
(Adapted from Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of May 2005)