What is spirituality? A fulsome spirituality is union with God. Jesus spoke words of spirit and life because He was spirit and life. Was spirit, was life on account of His union with Father.
SPIRIT OF ADOPTION
Union with God will make you alive in the spirit of adoption. Union with the law will. Make you are dead person walking and union with religion will make you confused and only half alive.
Believers may wonder why people don’t flock to their church. But if all these Believers have is a church life, a christian routine and an attachment to religion – who would want that? To be a missional people we need something to be missional about. Unless we are God incarnated people and filled with the Spirit we have nothing to be missional about. Unless we are life on account of the fact that for us ‘Jesus is Everything’ we are not alive.
Religion may lead to spirituality but it is not in itself spirituality. In common parlance and in the discourse of comparative religion, religious rites, motions and observances are frequently spoken of as spirituality. This is not spirituality. Externalities such as this are not innately spiritual and neither is the doing of them. The spirit of God manifesting as you and I is spiritual. Spirituality is Christ our life.
WHY THE LETTER KILLS
‘Keeping the law’ is an attempt to be spiritual that originates from the Fall. The law of Moses was a subsection of the knowledge of good and evil, named by Paul as the law of sin and death. The law is degrading and deadly because it attempts godliness in separation from God. ‘The letter kills’ because it kills the spirit and the soul.
The adoption and practice of externalities is ineffectual and does not make people examples of grace and truth. It dulls their humanity and does not ignite it with the Spirit of God. Even when an approximation of righteousness is gained it leaves us wooden and stilted as human beings.
You can build religion out of a program of moralism, make a denomination from an attachment to an iconic law-observance. Or you can make your own ‘messiah’ from some distinctive that you and your faith community have sacralised.
Woodenness can come from your theology. There are theologies that are built around the denial of spirit as a reality; the denial that spirit belongs to the being of man and of God. This gives rise to a mindset of rationalism and materialism. Some go so far as to equate spirit with ‘breath’ which leaves the human being as little more than a an inflated football. A tree can be a living entity like a towering Gum or it can become a pile of dead wood in the farmers wood heap. The latter is the people of the law.
INTERWOVEN IN GOD
Law-based spirituality is a contradiction in terms. Tied to the law we are not spiritual but religious and wooden rather than spiritually alive in spirit and life. Any community of faith that is built on union with God and God’s spirit in us is spiritual and spiritual because we are part of God and God is part of us.
‘John 14.20. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ Realise this and we will not only be spiritual but genuine human beings.