There is a question that I sometimes ask people. It’s a question that the majority of those asked, even those who have been Christians many years, have difficulty answering. And I have found the answers of those who do give an answer, other than, “I’m not sure,” to be widely varied and often given with some measure of hesitation. What’s this question?
“What does it mean to be spiritual?”
I have often described myself as “spiritual, but not religious.” Some say there is really no difference, but I would disagree. And I believe the Apostle Paul would as well. Religion is all about rules and observances, doing things to somehow be good enough for or appease God. Religion is all about a conditional response just like it was in the Old Testament.
What does this have to do in answering the question, “What does it mean to be spiritual?” Everything.
Being spiritual is based squarely in an unconditional relationship with God and His character and nature. Therefore, being spiritual is only concerned with the relational. “Spiritual” is an adjective. Its definition is “relating to the spirit.” In this case, it would be “relating to the things of the Spirit.” Being spiritual, therefore, means having the qualities of the Spirit flowing through a person. Paul gives a partial list in Galatians 5 when he says that the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control.” There are other characteristics of the Spirit Paul did not include, such as generosity and power.
Inside the unconditional relationship God has with those who have and are believing is the fact that God has poured His nature and character into them through His Spirit now indwelling that person and being that person’s new and only true nature. He does this through a relationship.
I love Paul’s words in Ephesians 1:3 – “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One who blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ.” That means that God has poured all of His nature into any who believe and now, that one gets the privilege and pleasure of learning what it means to be like Him in this realm.
This is what it means to be spiritual.