Can you be both spiritual and religious? Sounds like the two are one in the same. Aren’t all religious people spiritual? Joyce Meyers told the story of the time she was in an elevator with a woman who excitedly told her, “I’m not religious but I sure enjoy watching your show.” Joyce Meyers replied back to her, “I’m not religious either, but I sure love Jesus.” The real fact of the matter is that spirituality and religiousity don’t always go hand in hand. How many religious people do you know that are mostly secular or carnal? There is nothing spiritual about them.
Yet, Jesus said that God is a spirit and he is looking for a people to worship him in “spirit” and in truth. Religion alone is nothing more than a set of human traditions and rules, yet on the other hand spirituality alone leaves us without a true deity. It is what the Bible refers to as “Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.” However, spirituality is essential to a growing and thriving relationship with God, as it moves us passed the tangible into the supernatural. The place where God resides.
Spirituality without a relationship with our Creator is like a having the icing without the cake. We need both of them to make our spiritual journey complete. In the article Why Am I Both Spiritual and Religious the author Amy Julia Becker declares, “When Christianity is practiced as a religion without spirituality, there are good reasons to leave the faith.” See article below:
Why Am I Both Spiritual and Religious?
by Amy Julia Becker
My days start early. I usually roll over to see our three-year-old son William standing next to our bed, and I feel lucky when the clock behind him reads 6:00. If we send him back to his room, he is prone to awaken his older sister, so I try to convince him to do puzzles in the playroom by himself. He says, “But Mom, then I will be lonely.” A few minutes later I hear Marilee, ten-months old, rustling and fussing from her crib down the hall. I’m up. And we’re moving.
Bottles and breakfast and dishes. Black tea for me and coffee for Peter. Shower and pack lunches for school and get everyone dressed. Most mornings our babysitter arrives to help with the final moments of preparation — brush teeth and comb hair and find backpacks and get out the door. Drop off with hugs and kisses. Three hours into my day, and the sink is filled with half-rinsed dishes, the counters strewn with Penny and William’s attempts to clear their plates, the floor littered with Marilee’s toys. And even with a babysitter who helps keep it all in order, the relentless demands of family life still threaten to overwhelm us all.
I long for stillness, for space, for contemplation and rest. I long for a sense of meaning and purpose to undergird the tedium of housekeeping and the demands of caring for small children. But I ignore or deny those longings because to pay attention seems impractical, indulgent, and nearly impossible. The list of things to do is too long already. And time for prayer or long walks in the woods would require less sleep or a less chaotic household or leaving too many things undone. Where would I find the time? And how would I justify it? There are toys to pick up, for heaven’s sake.
I could go the religious route. Try hard to be kind and patient. Say prayers with my children at a specified time each day. Take them to church. Memorize some Bible verses. And yet I know that the order offered through routine religious observance easily slides into drudgery and even oppression, particularly when divorced from the personal presence of God.