In Romans 8 there is an extensive piece of scripture that deals with the person and work of the Holy Spirit. There is lots of great stuff in this chapter but I wanted us to look at Romans 8 to discover 6 characteristics of someone who is led by the Spirit.
- The spiritual life is intimately related to the saving work of God in Christ.
The Christian is someone who has died to sin and risen with Christ and now this same Christ lives in the believer by his Spirit. This Spirit enables the believer to live a Christ-like life, working to transform him or her into the likeness of his / her Lord. Of course we cannot discuss any Christian spirituality apart from this saving work of Jesus Christ.
- Spirituality is more about living a life of righteousness, than performing personal and private acts of devotion.
If we are seeking to be spiritual we must be seeking to fulfil the will of God. This is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength and to love your neighbour as you love yourself. Christian spirituality does not mean we express ourselves in any way we want. Instead Christian spirituality pursues holiness.
- Christian Spirituality recognises the importance of the mind in pursuing a life pleasing to God.
Col 3:2 reminds us to have our minds set on things above. We are not seeking knowledge of God’s will for the sake of it but to be transformed by it. Christian spirituality touches out hearts and minds.
- There is a deep personal dimension to an encounter with the Spirit of God.
We are not talking about an abstract view of God but God our Father. Through Jesus we are his Sons and Daughters, we have a internal inheritance in his kingdom. The relationship is not theoretical but personal.
- Suffering is the context in which Christian spirituality is lived out Living in a world broken by sin will mean living in a world filled with misery and pain.
This will include suffering endured by believers for the sake of Christ. In this context the Spirit empowers us to stand firm and helps us endure. We are reminded of this in passages like 1 Peter 1:3-9 and Phil 3:10. Hardships, anxieties and persecution that are the result of obedience to our Father in heaven are normal.
- Frustration will be one aspect of life in the Spirit for each and every believer.
Complete satisfaction of all our physical and spiritual needs this side of heaven will not occur. Sadly many false spirituality promise this. In one sense we see and desire this now but it will not be received in all its fullness until Christ returns. the created order is frustrated but one day it will be renewed. But remember there is gospel hope that points us to heaven.