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Yearning for the Spiritual – Biblical Spirituality

In the New Testament being spiritual is all about being indwelt by the Spirit of God. So from a biblical point of view only those people who have the Spirit can really be described as spiritual. Thus the outworking of the Spirit in the lives of followers of Jesus is what could be referred to as ‘biblical spirituality’.

And yet are all Christians spiritual? Are some more Spiritual than others, Is there a higher level of spirituality that we must strive to achieve?

In 1 Cor 2 Paul writes that the whole of humanity is divided into two groups. The spiritual and the unspiritual and yet in the following chapter he seems to suggest that some Christians deserve to be called ‘spiritual’ and others ‘carnal’. Read 1 Cor 3:1-3.

We know that Paul is referring to Christians because he begins his section with the word ‘brothers’. So some of the brothers are described as ‘unspiritual’. Why does Paul describe some believers as unspiritual? It is not because they have not received the Holy Spirit at their point of conversion but because they are still manifesting the works of the flesh in their lives. Paul does not refer to them in this way because they have just slipped up but rather that they are continually behaving as if they had never been converted.

Paul is addressing this situation because it is amazing that someone who follows Jesus would not be concerned about this continued fleshly behaviour. It is expected in the Christian life that someone who is converted receives the Spirit and the process of transformation would begin in their lives. So to be Spiritual is to be someone who co- operates with the Spirit for this transformation to take place. That is what we read in Gal 5:16.

However we know that we will never fully overcome the works of the flesh and that godly living is a constant conflict in the Christian life. There is the conflict between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the spirit. It is clear that at different stages of life and among different Christians some surrender themselves more to one than the other. The danger of course is that if we keep submitting to the desires of the flesh we will no longer be considered followers of Jesus (Christian).

So let us strive to be Spiritual… to walk in the Spirit which means to have the Spirit of God control our thoughts, attitudes and behaviours. This is the normal Christian life but at the same time we must struggle against our sinful flesh and not behave in a carnal or unspiritual way.