True Spirituality

jesus_icon_i(Reflection from the Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost)

Psalm 15:1-2: LORD, who may dwell in your tabernacle? Who may abide upon your holy hill? Those who lead a blameless life and do what is right, who speak the truth from their heart;

James 1:27: Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

When we think of being religious or being spiritual, we tend to think inwardly. Perhaps we think about the situations that we have to deal with, or the struggles we have to shoulder, or the battles we fight in our mind. It is widely understood that spirituality is an inward discipline – something shared between God and me.

But Scripture teaches us that spirituality is also about what happens outwardly. Spirituality is about doing right and caring for others. Sharing with those in need is good religion, acceptable to God. Our spirituality is embodied in how we treat people that are less fortunate.

A quote from Robert Webber: “No matter how hard we try, there is nothing we can do to restore our union with God. That is the bad news. But the good news is that God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. . . . So spirituality is not a self-generated achievement but a gift given to us by God. This gift sets us free to see life in a new way and to live life as God intended, in union with the purposes of the Creator and Redeemer of the world.”[1]

God’s purposes for us are actualized in serving others. In the economy of God’s Kingdom, the last are first and the first are last. The best in God’s community are always on the bottom, serving others in humility. When we help people in need, making ourselves available to be used by God, we become truly spiritual.


[1] Robert E. Webber, The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2006), 18.

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