By: Reverend Canon Michael Allen

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What is a spiritual life?

Spiritual life and Spirituality is such a broad topic with many definitions floating around, but let us keep things simple- a spiritual life assesses to what extent God is part of my existence and to what extent are we living in God.

To live in God is to centre ourselves in the context of eternity. As a Christian, eternity is located in our relationship, and our being absorbed into the nature of God through the Son, Christ Jesus. The Gospel according to John is filled with references inviting us to find ourselves in God. Hence , the invitation of Jesus to feed on him as we find in John 6
There Jesus declared,

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

John 6:35‭, ‬47‭-‬48‭, ‬50‭-‬51 NIV

Centering, feeding on Jesus as our diet is the way that we have a Spiritual life. This Spiritual life is not meant to be hidden. It should also be something that is quite visible to others and so we find , also in the Gospel according to John , the following
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice,

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

John 7:37&38

A corollary to this description and hence understanding of Spiritual and spirituality is that in addition to being fed and sustained by Jesus: it is our duty to be in search of Jesus , to seek and find him out. This other aside to the work of spirituality is the focus of the Gospel according to Matthew whereby the emphasis is to once again return God back to the centre. Hence Matthew 6:33– Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Spirituality shows itself in proactively day by day making a choice for Christ. Therefore Christ seeks us out, offering himself to us and we seek out God through Christ , these are the two components of our spiritual life.

When these movements start to decline and stop happening then our nourishment ceases. Chances are we’ll still be physically existing , but not spiritual thriving. Our tastes begin to change as we are more caught up with the things of the world as against the things of God. We no longer desire to spend time in conversation with God which is what we call prayer or to encounter God in the land of the Scriptures, which tells the story of a God who is faithful to us as God covenants with us.

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Our spiritual lives turn into mostly material lives , until we can have that moment , that gift, however it arises, that there is a recognition in our hearts and souls that there is more to life than this. The younger son in the story of the Prodigal Son says it best – in Luke 15:17– ” When he came to senses and he follows it up in Luke 15:18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

Therefore, reviving your Spiritual life starts by remembering that we do not live to ourselves, but, rather , we are made to be connected – certainly to God and also to each other. Hence the first starting point is to reconnect with God through Jesus Christ. Read again the story of Jesus, and his life giving mission to the world. Luke 15 , with its three stories of Jesus being portrayed as going in search of the lost is a good place to start. These stories remind us that the place where Jesus begins in his relationship with us is not at a place of condemnation, but, rather at a place of invitation. It is an invitation to come back home, and return to those values, and environment that nurtures and sustains us, and makes us see life from a different perspective.

Having a spiritual life is first and foremost, about the ability to see life from a different perspective.. It is not about being holier than thou, it is not about being moralistic, it is rather a search for your life to have meaning and purpose within the bigger scheme of living in Community, and how we can play our contribution to make the world a better place.

Spirituality, however, is more than doing good deeds.  It is as said earlier about having a relationship with God.  Put it another way, God’s Spirit and our spirit meeting together.  Where is the best place for this to happen?  Again the answer is Scripture,  for it is there that we have the best telling of the Story of God and God’s covenantal relationship with us.  Of course, this covenantal relationship does not go smoothly,  it is filled with difficulties, but yet both sides must persevere.  To capture it, in our daily Bible reading the Psalms is a must and we should read and say it has a prayer, a conversation, finding out God’s will for us and the world doing it.

Our spiritual lives need community.  Learning from each other brings the possibility of the revival of our spiritual life.   So find a Bible centred, fellowship driven, Jesus led Church and make this a joyful experience. 

-Reverend Canon Michael Allen