Religion and Spirituality
What Does it Mean to Be Spiritual?

by Larry C. Hamner

August 16, 2006

A Connection with God

Searching for spirituality? Want to know what it means to be spiritual? There's nothing fancy or complicated going on here. There are no secret chats, no secret or super spiritual sounding words one can repeat nor any manner of meditation that will produce spirituality. Spirituality can not be achieved through self-denial or penance; neither can any philosophical or religious tendency render us spiritual. The fact of the matter is spirituality is not something to be developed as in a process, formula, or ritualistic course of action. Simply put there is nothing we can do to become spiritual. To be spiritual simply means to have a friendly and favorable relationship with God based on our relationship with Christ. Putting this all together, it is my assertion that to be spiritual is to have a connection with God. To be precise one can say to be spiritual is to have access to God. No access to God! No Spirituality! The problem is most Christians believe that in order to have access to God they must become spiritual, when in actually it is our access to God that renders us spiritual.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Rom 5:1-5 KJV)

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Eph. 2:16-18 KJV)

The true notion of spirituality is being “God connected” Our consciousness of our spirituality is evidenced by God's influence, and power in our life. The path to spiritual enlightenment leads to God through Christ. It is through Christ we are re/connected to our heavenly father. With this reconciliation comes a renewed sense of self and the power of the divine nature that we share with God our father.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen. 1:26-27 KJV)

“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Heb 12:9 KJV)

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Pet 1:2-4 KJV)

When we properly understand the Scriptures, we recognize the opportunity to partake of the very essence of God, the divine nature that is inherent in each of us . Although we find ourselves slaves to our human nature it now becomes possible to partake of the same nature that God has. God's thoughts become our thoughts, our ways become his ways, knowing the will of the Father, for it will become our nature. Fully mature Christians will experience a change, casting off human frailties that enslave them to fleshly passions. They will give God more than a passing thought, they will remain “God Connected”, and walk in the spirit.

Character Conscious

On August 28th, 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his most famous speech, “I have a dream”. As his address rose in a crescendo, he proclaimed “ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”. It is this “character content” which King referenced in his dream speech that defines who we are and how we behave. Consider what God says to Samuel, “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7 KJV) It is also said that the “The worth of a man can be judged by the size of his heart”. There are two significant factors that contribute to our character. One of which is our divine or spiritual nature. The other being our earthly or fleshly nature. The product of the two results in what we call human nature. So then man is made up of his spiritual self and his physical self. This dual nature causes an inward conflict, flesh against Spirit each struggling for dominance.

“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom 7:21-23 KJV)

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal 5:17 KJV)

Needless to say being “God Connected” can have a powerful effect on ones life. The quality of our lives is determined by the choices we make. Having a connection with God will insure that we are never lost, or headed in the wrong direction. Each day we are faced with hundreds of different situations each of which presents an opportunity to exhibit the nature of our character. It is at this juncture Paul proclaims there is a war in our members, that is to say, when we know the right path to take, we are persuaded by our human nature to go down the path we know we shouldn't. Why? Simply because it satisfies our fleshly cravings.

“All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.” (Eccl. 6:7 KJV)

“(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” (Phil 3:18-19 KJV)

Many Christians justify their continued enslavement to their passions even after their professed spiritual enlightenment and/or acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They use the righteousness of Christ as a cloak to cover the fact their sins have not been forsaken. The simple truth of the bible is not only did Christ die for the forgiveness of our sins but he also died to end our sins. Whoever remains or continues in sin most certainly have accepted a different Christ. We as Christians must understand that we are justified and sanctified by Christ through faith in him. We need also to know that faith in Christ demands that we receive the Holy Spirit and lead a new life. If there is no evidence of a new life, the obvious conclusion is that we have not received Christ at all. It is the work of the Holy Spirit not only to transform our character but also to control our conduct.

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:16-17 KJV)

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”(Rom 12:1-2 KJV)

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:6-14 KJV)

God through the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus has liberated us from the burden of sin. Through justification by faith we are now reconnected with God; it is this connection with God that produces in us both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him. Justification restores fellowship between us and God. This fellowship is to be maintained through a vigilant devotion to our connection with God. Those who are committed to maintain fellowship with God are character conscious and strive continuously for a fuller conformity to God's will. They are no longer slaves to the attitudes, interests, behavioral patterns, emotional responses, and social demands of the flesh. Through the power of the Holy Spirit they have successfully mortified the deeds of the flesh.

Spiritually Mature

In order to enjoy continual fellowship with God, we must become mature Christians. The Holy Spirit is at work in us to assist us in becoming fully mature. As it is with the natural so it is with the spiritual, we begin our spiritual life as newborn babes. A Spiritual newborn who is healthy and whole is not unlike any healthy newborn; they are fully equipped physically and mentally to become a full grown and mature adult. They do not come with certain body parts and are missing others; expecting to grow the missing parts later. What is expected is that through good physical conditioning, a wholesome and nutritious diet that over time the newborn will become a healthy and mature adult. There is only one other component needed in the growth process and that is healthy and mature parents to love and nurture the newborn. This analogy can be carried forward to mirror every step that leads to spiritual maturity. So Peter and Paul use it to vividly explain the growth process of newborns in Christ.

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” (1 Cor 3:1 KJV)

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Cor 13:11 KJV)

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Eph. 4:11-15 KJV)

“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

For every one that useth milk is unskillfull in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:12-14 KJV)

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (1 Pet 2:2 KJV)

In order for spiritual growth to occur, we must be taught, rebuked, corrected, and trained by the Word of God. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6 KJV) Spiritual growth also requires frequent periods of meditation and prayerful communication with God. It requires reading and studying the bible on a regular basis. Attending church once a week on the Sabbath is not a regular basis. Faithful church attendance along with daily devotions is what constitutes a regular basis. Above all we must be faithful doers of the Word.

Mirror of Life

The Word of God is the mirror of life it shows us what we are like spiritually and shines light on the areas that need more attention. “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:23-25 KJV) People are different so they will have various growth rates. The mirror is not there for us to compare ourselves with others but for us to compare ourselves with the Word of God. Unlike the natural mirror the Word of God is not there to tell us what we look like but rather who we are. Have you looked in the mirror lately?


Finding correct answers to the question of religion and spirituality is of the utmost importance. The bible tells us that we must have a spiritual mind or we are dead. Not only are we dead but we are God's enemy. Remember it is our connection with God that renders us spiritual. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to produce the fruits of righteousness in us. It is our duty to simply submit ourselves to the leadings and dictates of the Holy Spirit.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” (John 16:13 KJV)

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Rom 6:13 KJV)

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor 2:12-14 KJV)

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” (1 Thes 4:9 KJV)

”Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:4-10 KJV)

When we receive the Holy Spirit we are born again; that is to say we are new creatures. This means we are no longer carnal but spiritual. What takes place after the new birth is what we call “spiritual growth”. Don't be mislead by the term it is simply saying that the indwelling Spirit is now developing our minds to be exactly like the mind of Christ. I caution you also that you not fall into the grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ trap. This statement is often misinterpreted to mean that our grace and our knowledge are growing. However what this truly says is that much like a plant grows in the soil and draws it nutrient needs from the soil; we as Christians draw the nutrients we need for spiritual growth from unmerited favor and from knowing Christ. In other words God's grace and knowing Christ as our personal savior is all we need to grow spiritually, if we are lacking anything it will flow from those sources, including but not limited to knowledge. One need to but take up his or her yoke and learn from Christ. He is our perfect example of what it means to be spiritual.

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