“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, … And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:15, 18)
This week we look at the third of seven key areas in Paul’s instructions on how to walk wisely in Ephesians 5 – spirituality. Let’s explore it together.
Spiritual or spirituality are words that are thrown about by almost everyone today. People of various religious persuasions use it. Some use it synonymously with “religious” to simply refer to someone who leads a very religious life. Others us it to refer to things unseen within one’s religious experience, irrespective of one’s religion. Others use it to describe one’s own personal inner being or experiences. But what does it truly mean?
Well, in many ways it means all of the above, however, as Francis Schaeffer claimed in his book True Spirituality, it is something that only a Christian can truly experience. In other words, one cannot be spiritual without first being a Christian. It is something that can only be properly understood after the truths of the Gospel have taken hold of a person and have been applied to one’s life in a holistic manner, not separating the person from the world around them.
It therefore means that there is no such thing as sacred or secular to a truly spiritual person. All work that one does is spiritual in the sense that the whole being is involved in the task and all is to be done for God, giving Him all the glory (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:31). One cannot leave their spirituality at home when one enters the workplace, but rather one’s spirituality influences and governs how one works in all aspects of life.
But true Christian spirituality also means that the Holy Spirit is involved in a person’s life, and in every aspect of life – from family life, to work, from ministry to driving one’s car – every part of one’s life has to be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
But Paul uses this in contrast to being drunk on wine, why? Simply because being drunk on wine means that one is to a large degree out of control of their faculties, and has instead allowed the wine to rule over them. Many to the extent of becoming dependant on the wine – they can’t go a day without it. The same is true for anything else that can take control of you – from drugs to adrenalin boosting activities. When this happens, one behaves out of character, doing and saying things that they ordinarily would not. Though these things are what may be hidden on the inside, they are not under control by a sane mind and are not being dealt with by a repentant heart. Instead one loses control and the end result is a ruined testimony and damaged relationships.
Instead one must be filled with the Spirit of God, and when this happens, a change results in a person’s heart, mind, words and behaviour. The person begins to show evidence of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and begins to practice the various gifts of the Spirit as He has given them. And in each case, the end result is a strong testimony of the power of the Spirit in one’s life and the building up of others in all areas of life.
This therefore is true spirituality – being a believer and under the control of the Holy Spirit, as one walks the journey that God has determined for each of us in all aspects of life, so that we not only grow in our relationship with God, but also be a testimony for others, building everyone up.
The challenge I have for you is two-fold. Firstly, how is your spiritual walk – are you a true believer and is Jesus just as much a part of your life at work as He is at church? Secondly, are you under the influence of the Holy Spirit only – not allowing other things to take control of your life? For anything else is false spirituality.
Just a Thought!
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