Theme of the Week: Essential Spirituality
Bible Verse: “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
We must acknowledge our differences. True Christianity is a living relationship with God, in Christ Jesus. This relationship is sacred; the Living Water which we have is a gift of God. But to sustain this gift, to abide in communion with God, and to grow in holiness, we need a spirituality that is designed to appropriate the grace of God, live in union with Christ, and serve him effectively.
We need a mode of living that fulfills within us the ideals of the Christian life, including the inner grace of peace and joy, as well as the outer grace of authentic vocation in the world and effective service for the Lord we love. We need a spirituality that allows us to live in the world while not being cast in the world’s mold. We need a spirituality that serves as a catalyst for vitality and growth. We also need a spirituality that integrates the different dimensions of the Christian life, the inner life of prayer and worship together with the outer life of service, the personal and the solitary with the corporate and the communal. Finally, we need a spirituality that can handle the crises, challenges and problems in our lives, so that we can life with joy and peace despite difficulty, failure and disappointment.
This is a tall order indeed. But we have the Scriptural assurance that the grace of God is sufficient for whatever situation we might encounter. But, to appropriate this grace, we need a spirituality that is specifically adapted to our personal temperament, vocation, age, social context and family situation. We need a tailor-made spirituality.
What we urgently need to remember is that not all Christians will have, or need to have a similar spirituality. A wide variety of factors will shape a person’s Christian life – both the inward relationship with God, and the relationship with the world. Different people will have different spiritualities. This is liberating. It frees each Christian from the unrealistic expectations of others. But this principle is also sobering; it reminds us that we must avoid judging one another unfairly.
Spiritualities are different for different people. Nevertheless, there are some essential components that will be found in every true spirituality. Both the Scriptures and the accumulated wisdom of the Christian spiritual heritage affirm that despite the great diversity among Christians there are essential components applicable to all. They are few, but if we are to have a relevant and practical spirituality, we need to identify these essential components and creatively find ways to insure that they are part of our spiritual lives.
By stressing the need for a tailor-made spirituality I am not saying that this spiritual model will always be comfortable and affirming. A true spirituality will consistently open us to growth, create opportunities for the voice of God to be heard, stretch us to full dependence on the grace of God for effective service, and regularly confront us with the reality of God’s holiness and our sin.
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