Not All That’s Spiritual Is Good

As followers of Jesus we can point the supernaturally curious to God

Not All That’s Spiritual Is GoodPremodern people saw everything as spiritual. Though modern thinking attempted to remove the spiritual from our everyday reality, the postmodern view is open to reunite them. For that I am glad.

Yet not all that is spiritual is good. Consider all of the TV shows and movies that delve into the supernatural. Sci-fi specifically seems to be moving in this direction but so are more generally marketed television shows and movies. Also, consider the growing interest in fantasy novels and the various speculative fiction subgenres. Why is this?

It’s quite simply because of demand. The public seeks content that investigates spiritual concepts and explores the supernatural realm. They have interest in such matters. They hunger for something more than what a nonspiritual life offers, with content producers happy to fill that void.

In fact, most people in today’s postmodern world, notably younger generations, such as Millennials, are open to the spiritual. This is both good and bad. Just because something is spiritual doesn’t automatically make it good. Sometimes supernatural considerations point us to God and other times this content steers us in the opposite direction. Often these mind-blowing forays into the non-temporal merely confuse a godly, spiritual reality with intriguing, yet inconsequential fantasy.We need to guide our world's spiritually inquisitive to a true spiritual understanding. Click To Tweet

Does this mean we should abandon all cinema, television, and books that dip into the supernatural? Of course not. Ignoring this trend will not make it go away and will leave the spiritually curious with only opposing views to influence them.

As people who know what the Bible says about spiritual matters, we need to guide our world’s spiritually inquisitive toward an understanding that is biblically centered and focused on Jesus. If we don’t, people will persist in forming their own hodgepodge of spiritual practices based on what they see in their entertainment choices and that is not anchored in the foundation of God’s Word.

Let us be their light to a path that leads to God, the narrow way, and away from the wide path that leads to destruction (Psalm 119:105, Matthew 7:13-14).

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The Bible Provides a Greater Authority for Faith and Spirituality

It’s critical to build our spiritual house on a strong foundation if it is to last

The Bible Provides a Greater Authority for Faith and SpiritualityWe live in a day where people make up their own religion. It seems silly to state our present spiritual climate in those terms, but that’s what people do, even those who say they are Christians.

For some this means looking at all religions using a personal pro and con analysis. They embrace the parts they like, adapt a few others, and reject the rest. Their religious practice emerges as a smattering of Christian thought, Jewish practice, Hindu ideals, Muslim devotion, and Buddhist discipline. Their resulting practice may be self-satisfying, but its basis is simultaneously built on everything and nothing. The Bible is an authority that provides a reliable spiritual basis for faith. Click To Tweet

Others don’t directly consider world religions; they just do what feels right. They make a personal inventory of good behaviors and bad behaviors, with everyone’s list being different. From this emerges a loose set of spiritual practices that makes them feel good and never confronts them. Often they end up doing peculiar things in the name of their religion, which in reality is an excuse to behave however they want.

Next is the group that reads religious literature, including the Bible, with a highlighter in one hand and scissors in the other. The result is a cut and paste religion, a spiritual collage of feel-good sentiment that merely reinforces their preconceived notions of whatever they want.

While each of these approaches is affirmed in today’s attitude of mystical permissiveness, they are based on nothing solid, nothing lasting, nothing of substance.

For truly meaningful spiritual significance that transcends ourselves, we must seek a reliable source that surpasses our own thoughts, preferences, and preconceived ideals. We need a greater authority.

For me that greater authority rests in the Bible, which reflects the Godhead who inspired it. I read and study the Bible, not to articulate a systematic theology but to pursue the God behind its words. To me the Bible isn’t a rulebook or even a manual; it’s a narrative resource that points me to God. I will daily strive to understand the Bible more fully, while knowing I will never achieve this lifelong goal.

The Bible is the basis for my faith, a greater authority that transcends my limited intellect and keeps me from making up my own religion and deluding myself in the process.

What is the basis for your spiritual foundation? How does the Bible fit in?

[This is from Peter DeHaan‘s June newsletter, “Spiritually Speaking.”  Receive the complete newsletter each month.]

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13 Reasons Why I Love the Bible

The Holy Scriptures Are So Much More than a Sacred Icon or Guidebook for Living

13 Reasons Why I Love the BibleI revere the Bible. Every morning I reserve time to read its words and study its meaning. It informs who I am and reforms what I do. It exposes me to God and his ways.

Yes, I cherish the Bible. Here are thirteen reasons why I love it so much. The Bible:

  1. Supplies Us with a Greater Authority
  2. Reveals God the Father to Us
  3. Points Us to Jesus
  4. Shows Us the Holy Spirit
  5. Reminds Us of Our Heritage
  6. Informs Our Understanding of God
  7. Provides Direction for Our Lives
  8. Teaches How to Live With One Another
  9. Offers Us Hope for the Future
  10. Unveils Rich Literature to Us
  11. Gives Us Daily Inspiration
  12. Presents Us with a Narrative Example for Life and Church
  13. Uncovers the Spiritual Realm for Us

Paul writes to Timothy that all parts of the Bible have value. It can teach us, rebuke us, correct us, and train us for right living. This prepares us to do good (2 Timothy 3:16-17).All Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training...” (2 Tim 3:16) Click To Tweet

What do you think of the Bible? What is its value to you?

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Membership Has Its Privileges: Why We Shouldn’t Join a Church

A few decades ago American Express unveiled the tagline: “Membership has its privileges.” Their ads implied that great benefits awaited those who qualified to carry one of their exclusive cards. To start, there was a high annual fee and, as I understand, minimal annual levels of usage for their various membership tiers. The card became a status symbol, separating the fortunate few who carried it from the masses who didn’t. It generated pride and caused envy.

Church does the same thing when it touts membership. To become a church member, there are hoops to jump through: attend classes, agree to certain teachings, follow specific rules, and commit to donate money, possibly even at a certain annual level. Once we do so, the church accepts us as one of its own; we are fully embraced and become one of the flock. We are elite, and, even if we won’t admit it, we swell with pride over our special status. Now the church and her paid staff will care for us. To everyone else, they offer tolerance but withhold full acceptance. After all, church membership has its privileges.

There’s one problem. Church membership is not biblical; we made it up.

Membership separates church attendees between those on the inside and everyone else; it pushes away seekers. Membership splits the church of Jesus, separating people into two groups, offering privileges to one and instilling resentment in the other. It is a most modern concept, consumerism at its finest.

To my shame, I have been a church member. Never again.

Although perhaps well intended, membership divides the church that Jesus wanted to function as one. Jesus accepted and loved everyone, not just those who followed him or offered money. Paul never gave instructions about church membership, Peter never commanded we join a church, and John never held a new membership class.

I confess my sin of being sucked into this unholy institutional practice of church membership, at both the local and denominational level. I stand in horror over my role in promoting division among the followers of Jesus. Father, forgive me.

Though I will never again join a church as an official member, I am open to attend one, to immerse myself in community, to engage in corporate worship, and to serve others. This is what church should be. This is what the early church did. This is what Jesus wanted when he prayed for unity. And this is what I will do.

Be True to Our Calling

I just returned from a writers conference. It was a rewarding and informative time in learning about the art — and business — of writing well.

In the closing presentation, our speaker astutely noted that some of us write fiction and some non-fiction; some write for the Christian market and some for the general market — and that’s okay. As writers, we need to be content with the area and genre that God has provided for us, not wishing to be writing something different and not pining for the success of others or the opportunities afforded them.

The same is true with our spiritual journeys. We are each on our own path and it is unwise to wish for be like someone else instead of who God has called us to be. We may not pray as much as someone else or comprehend biblical truth like our best friend. Others may be better at telling others about Jesus or more confident in reaching out to those who are hurting, but if that is not who God created us to be, it is foolish to falsely pursue those things — and disrespectful to God and the person he made us to be.

Whether it is writing or our faith journey, it is not wrong to want to improve and to grow; in fact, it is admirable and advisable. However, to compare ourselves with others, diminishing who we are or what we do in the process, is little more than dismissing God’s provision and missing his plan for us.

We need to be content with where we are and stay true to our calling.

Just Because it’s Spiritual Doesn’t Mean it’s Good

I think that all things are spiritual, but I am quick to assert that not everything that is spiritual is good.

Sometimes it is abundantly clear when something is spiritual but bad; other times it is not so obvious, while occasionally it can be quite confusing.

As a foundation of understanding, I use the Bible as a reference point in discerning good spirituality from bad spirituality. In doing so, I endeavor to comprehend the Bible as narrative, not as rulebook or legal document, but as story about God and the people he created – all people.

That is why this blog is about biblical spirituality, distinguishing it from an anything spirituality.

For more about the Bible, consider another resource: A Bible A Day.com.

For specific resources on the A Bible A Day website, check out: