If you’re a Christian, you might have wondered how you can get closer to God and become more spiritual. In this blog post, I answer the question, “What does it mean to be a spiritual Christian?”
What is Christian Spirituality?
Aren’t all Christians spiritual? That seems like an odd question. Most would equate spirituality with Christianity, yet it’s possible to possess one and not the other. So, what are the differences and what characteristics follow the spiritual Christian?
To be a spiritual Christian means to be led and to live by the spirit of God. It means allowing God’s spirit, that is living inside you, to guide your decisions instead of relying mostly upon your logic and intellect. Galatians 5:16 says that if we are led by the spirit we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
It takes quieting our minds and stilling our hearts to be a spiritual Christian. Too often we can’t hear God’s spirit leading us because our own thoughts and compulsive thinking gets in the way. We are constantly thinking about our past, our future, our worries and cares, and everything else in-between. Because of this, our thoughts often choke out or conflict with the Word of God.
Being a spiritual Christian requires spending time with God in solitude and silence. It was Jesus’s custom to go to a solitary place and pray or abide with God. The relationship built on abiding created a spiritual connection between God and Christ. Jesus said I and my Father are one. In fact, Jesus said, “I only do and say and what the Father tells me.” Their spiritual union created unity of thought and purpose.
Unfortunately, many Christians have never learned to nurture God’s spirit within them. They don’t trust what the spirit is saying, especially if it goes against natural or logical thinking. They don’t think God talks to them. They have more faith in the pastoral staff than in the Holy Spirit.
In many churches, Christians are not taught how to be spiritual. Instead we are given rules and formulas to live by. It is like going to a Christian seminar. We receive a one size fits all message. However, this does not compensate for our differences- differences in purpose, in personality, and in-style. It also does not account for our uniqueness.
Jesus told us that when it comes to God and being spiritual, that the spirit of God is already within us. He told us not to go on a mission to find God, because when we open our heart to Him, we already possess Him. Just as in the day of Pentecost, when we wait on God, He sends us the tools and the power we need to carry out His mission. In fact, 2 Peter 1:3 tells us, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Therefore, being a spiritual Christian has more to do with building a genuine and personal relationship with God that is germinated in the soil of “being” and “abiding in Christ,” and as a result of this intimate fellowship, the direction, guidance, power, and instructions we need to fulfill God’s ongoing purpose in our lives will emerge.
As a Christian, How Can I Become More Spiritual?
To become more spiritual as a Christian, you first should take a few moments and think about the changes that you would like to see in your life and consider your priorities.
You might want to live with more peace and less stress, exercise more, or lose weight. You might want to eliminate your unhealthy relationships, or start developing a stronger relationship with your partner, friends, or family. Whatever you want, remember that your greatest priority should always be to develop a stronger relationship with God.
One of the most important things that you need to remember is to forgive yourself of your past. Loving yourself actually means having the ability to forgive yourself of the past mistakes that you have committed, and then, by placing your priority on loving God, and ourselves you can start relying on Him for your guidance.
When you start placing your priorities on getting closer to Him, and once you seek first God’s kingdom, He will always guide you. Perhaps, your best “resolution” to becoming a Spiritual Christian is to strengthen your relationship with Christ by seeking Him from within.
One way is to spend time with Him and always consider God in every choice that you make and every action that you do. Spend time with God in prayer as well as meditation each day. The Bible says that the spirit of God is within you. So many times we seek God through the external, but to access Christ, we must go within, where He is knocking on the door of our heart. Opening the door and inviting Christ in, allows Him to live in us, and through us so He can guide us.
Spend some time reading the scriptures and allowing His Words to guide you, and through God’s guidance, set realistic goals. Moreover, you need to bear in mind that starting a spiritual resolution is not all about reading the scriptures; it is also about considering Him in every decision and choice that you make.
Use your better judgment and wisdom in choosing. When faced with a decision to do good or the otherwise, always think about how your relationship with God will be affected in every decision that you make.
Lastly, keep your heart and mind pure. The Bible tells us to “purify our hearts from all that contaminate body and spirit out of reverence for God.” It also tells us to “guard your hearts, for out of the heart, comes the issues of life.” Therefore, don’t allow worry, fear, or negativity to dwell in your mind and heart. Use meditation and other spiritual tools to cleanse and renew your mind daily.
How to Walk in the Spirit
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. “- Galatians 5:16
Act 17:28 declares, “In Him (Christ) we live and move and have our being.” Yet in reality, we can’t be in Him unless He is in us. There are those in the last days who will have done many mighty works in His name, but He will declare, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:21)
Jesus said in John 14:24, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” They will listen to and follow His leading, inspirations, promptings, and words. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” I believe we can live in continual communion with God by connecting to the Holy Spirit within us, giving Him full reign, and walking in complete faith, love, and trust. When Christ said, ‘I and the Father are one” and “I only do the things the Father tells me to do.” (John 8) Christ was living in this perfect state of union with God. Creating this union, involves the constant emptying of carnally-minded and fear-based thinking and becoming an empty vessel where Christ’s spirit can dwell and live. We can cultivate a temple that is available to God’s Spirit 24/7 as we continue to root out and pull up anything that would taint our hearts or block the spirit from entering in.
God never forces himself upon us, and will only occupy as much space as we will allow. Whatever space you leave for Christ, he will take it automatic. As you empty your heart and mind of all that clutters or defiles your spirit, because you are a believer, the spirit of Christ takes up residence. We need only have invited him in and we did that when we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior.
Revelations 3:20 says that Christ stands at the door and knocks. He knocks on the door of your mind, your heart, and your consciousness. This is an ongoing process because Christ is always trying to get our attention. He wants to take over. He wants us to stop living and striving in our own efforts and strength. A life in Christ doesn’t have to be like a teeter-totter, living in and out of the spirit. We can actually live and walk in the Spirit of God to the exact extent that we move ourself out of the way. Who or what is the “self,” the ego, the mind, and the flesh who wants to be in control. Romans 8:7 says that the flesh (the mind) doesn’t submit to the things of God.
I have found on my spiritual walk that a consistent practice of Christian meditation, being in stillness and silence, taking times of restoration and renewal, and dwelling in God’s presence along with reading and meditating on His word has given me the greatest ability to weed out and root up the mindsets that want to continually pull me away from a complete trust and surrender to Christ.
Walking and living in Christ doesn’t drastically change who we are or our personalities per se, we are still us, but instead we have a renewed mind and heart that connects more efficiently with the things of God, and creates more holiness, wisdom, and truth as our foundation. We make decisions with wisdom and understanding. We react to situations with more trust and love.
Walking in the spirit isn’t about becoming this holier than thou Christian who preaches constantly to others or who is always talking about God. I believe walking in the spirit is about letting the Holy Spirit take over your life and your personality, so that no matter what you are doing (working, cooking, playing sports), Christ’s love, joy, and peace is being represented in you; his living waters are flowing through you. It is not something you have to muster up through hours of prayer or supplication, but because you are in union with Christ you automatically respond from the heart of God. It’s really about cultivating a peace within that creates no boundaries or interference standing in the way of receiving divine communication, inspiration, and wisdom from Christ. The clearer the connection, the greater the union and intimacy.
During times of decision we want our default response to be one of faith and trust; however we must develop this through practice, by stomping out thoughts of fear and doubt and bringing every part of us under subjection. When we notice we are reacting in any way but trust and love, “for where there is strive and envy there is confusion and every evil work,” if there is enough of the Holy Spirit within us, He will bring us quickly back to a place of peace, joy, faith, and trust.
This is when life becomes a meditation unto the Lord because you don’t have to invoke the Holy Spirit’s powers, his power lives, abides, and leads you every moment of the day. This is where we should all inspire to be.
Four Tips to a More Spiritual Life
The Bible says that God is a spirit. In fact, I have often heard people say that we are all spiritual beings having a human or physical experience. If we don’t nurture our spiritual being, then we aren’t living through all the dimensions of who we are. Neglecting our inner or spiritual nature can often lead to feelings of emptiness and unfulfillment. The Bibles tells us to walk in the spirit and we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Living only to fulfill our physical needs does not lead to a whole and balanced life. You can grow spiritually and cultivate your spiritual awareness with these simple steps.
The first and most important step would be to develop a habit of meditating. Meditation is a powerful tool for introspection of the soul or spirit. It is a great way to clean your thoughts and feelings of all the impurities. Meditation is not that difficult to learn, but you must practice it on a regular basis for it to be effective. You can find guided meditations, Christian meditations, and find many tutorials on the internet on how to meditate. Don’t get hung up on the negative connotations often associated with meditation. You can find meditation practices that are safe and will not conflict with your beliefs of faith.
Spend Time in Nature
Spend some time daily or at least weekly in nature. Most people feel safe and secure when they are close to their mother. Similarly when you are close to Mother Nature a similar comfort overtakes you. A simple walk in the park or garden can bring you close to it and smell of the flowers is surely going to relieve all your day’s stresses.
Fill Your Home with Positive Energy
Your home should have an ambiance that creates positive energy around you. Such an ambiance can be created in both natural and artificial ways. You can have flowers that you think will create a positive atmosphere or you can make use of artificial scents also. In addition, clear away clutter and keep your home clean. You will feel the positive effects immediately and will thus relax your mind, body, and soul. Play uplifting music that bring joy to your heart and inspires good feelings. Surrounding yourself by things you love, helps to nurture your inner being and brings out your creativity.
Live By the Spirit
Jesus let his disciples know that once he ascended to heaven that he would send the Holy Spirit that would live in us and guide us in all truth. Reading spiritual or enlightening books like the Bible will also enhance the spiritual person living inside of you. By focusing more on the spiritual aspects of life, we train our minds and hearts to live a more spiritual life. It is important that we learn to “be still” so that we can hear the still, small voice of the spirit that speaks to us. When we are prompted or feel an urge to do or more in a particular direction, trust God’s spirit in you and follow your heart.
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