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    Biblical Studies Journal Volume 1, Number 11

    August 26, 1997

    Spirituality Christian Style

    Spirituality Defined
    The Christian Mind
    An Eternal Outlook
    Dwelling on the Good
    Growing Toward the Mind of the Spirit
    The Inward Determines The Outward
    Speaking from the Heart
    Giving from the Heart
    Calling on the Lord from the Heart
    Doing God's Will from the Heart
    God Provides The Strength

    Spirituality Defined

    Christians are called upon by God to live lives that glorify Him, lives that are worthy of His calling (II Thessalonians 1:11).

    That is the essence of what it means to be spiritual: to be like the Spirit, like the Father, and like the Son.

    Importantly, one's spirituality is not just a part of life, but it is a quality that touches the entirety of life--how one thinks and how one acts.
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    The Christian Mind

    In order to grow spiritually, a Christian must work on developing a godly point-of-view concerning life and this world.
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    An Eternal Outlook

    One very important and distinguishing part of the Christian way of thinking is the outlook beyond physical death.

    The Bible teaches that death is not the end of an individual's existence, but a time of transition.

    This is one of the basic parts of the hope that is in Christ. Paul wrote, "If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most to be pitied" (I Corinthians 15:19).

    On the contrary, Christians look forward to a heavenly home with Christ, who is already there with the Father:

    If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:14).
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    Dwelling on the Good

    Another characteristic of the Christian mind is a striving to rid it of the bad and fill it with the good:

    "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things" (Philippians 4:8).
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    Growing Toward the Mind of the Spirit

    It is important for Christians consistently to evaluate their thinking, using the Bible as the standard. Growth toward the mind of the Spirit and away from the mind of the flesh is a constant struggle.

    "For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:5-8).
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    The Inward Determines The Outward

    The Bible teaches over and over again that the inward thoughts of a person will be what determines the outward actions.

    Jesus said that bad fruit does not come from a good tree, and good fruit does not come from a bad tree; "for each tree is known by its own fruit" (Luke 6:43-44). The analogy is clear: "You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16).

    People are the same as the trees. How one is on the inside will determine how he is on the outside. This truth is illustrated in many different ways.
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    Speaking from the Heart

    "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart" (Matthew 15:18).

    "For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good, and the evil man out his evil treasure brings forth what is evil" (Matthew 12:34-35).
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    Giving from the Heart

    "Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver" (II Corinthians 9:7).
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    Calling on the Lord from the Heart

    "Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart" (II Timothy 2:22).
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    Doing God's Will from the Heart

    "Slaves, be obedient . . . as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians 6:5-6).
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    God Provides The Strength

    Christian growth is a life-long process--one never has all the faith he should; one never loves God or others as much as he should; one never lives like Christ did.

    All spiritual growth is a gift from God, as is the case with all good things. Therefore, through prayer, Bible study, worship, service, and fellowship, the Christian strives to grow closer and closer to his God throughout life, remembering that God will provide strength to His people. Let me leave you with these thoughts from scripture.

    "I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
    From whence shall my help come?
    My help comes from the Lord,
    Who made heaven and earth.
    He will not allow your foot to slip;
    He who keeps you will not slumber.
    Behold, He who keeps Israel
    Will neither slumber not sleep.
    The Lord is your keeper;
    The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
    The sun will not smite you be day,
    Nor the moon by night.
    The Lord will protect you from all evil;
    He will keep your soul.
    The Lord will guard your going out and your
    coming in
    From this time forth and forever" 
    (Psalm 121).
    

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    (c) 1997 The Fishinger & Kenny Roads Church of Christ, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.

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    Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 by THE LOCKMAN FOUNDATION. Used by permission.