Spirituality Under Pressure

The premise is simple:

Just having the Holy Ghost doesn’t make a person spiritual. For evidence consider these verses of Scripture:

1 Corinthians 3:1,

1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

Galatians 6:1,

1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

In the first example, the entire Corinthian church was given up to a carnal mind. Though they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (See e.g. 1 Corinthians 1:2, 3:16, 6:19, 12:13-27, and others), Paul recognized they weren’t living spiritual lives. The flesh was in control.

In the second verse, it’s apparent that “ye which are spiritual” means that of the various churches in the region of Galatia, only a select number of people present were actually spiritual, suggesting that anyone overtaken by a fault (i.e. a sin) is therefore not spiritual, but carnal. Other verses of the epistle also go to show that various saints in Galatia were carnally minded, vis-à-vis those who had begun in the Spirit, but then turned to the flesh and Torah observance in an attempt to become mature (Galatians 3:1-3).

So what makes a person spiritual? How can one tell? Should we just aimlessly wander through life in the Kingdom not knowing?

I submit to you that the real way to know if we are spiritual is when we are put to the test, i.e. when we are under pressure.

In the same way that it’s easy for rich people to give of their abundance and not really be affected (See Mark 12:41-44 and/or Luke 21:1-4), it’s also easy for so-called spiritual people to be “spiritual” when there is what Ezekiel the Prophet called an “abundance of idleness” (See Ezekiel 16:49).

Here, “idleness” is shaqat and means: to be quiet, be tranquil, be at peace, rest, lie still, be undisturbed, and etc.

Basically, when life is good, everything’s on the up and up, nothing’s amiss, nothing to fret about, all is well, and etc. Then yeah, waxing spiritual is easy for anyone. And too many are those who do so, having never been sorely tested, having never suffered much of anything important.

But what about when the chips are down, when you’re tossed and turned, when life’s throwing all it has at you to up-end your existence? Are you spiritual then? Can you maintain the heavier and heavier your cross becomes?

Acts 14:22,

22. Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Here, tribulation is the Greek word thlipsis, and means: a pressing, pressing together, pressure. No wonder the souls of the disciples needed to be confirmed, that is, strengthened and established, from episterizo, which means to render more firm.

Here’s what I have in mind, i.e. what I’m really trying to get across:

Let us say that you are on a five day vacation from work. You’re not travelling, just staying home. On account of the vacation, you’ve now got forty-plus hours of free time you didn’t have before. You take your leisure in running errands, doing chores, and etc. Most of your time is spent with your family. You go shopping, out to dinner, watch a movie, take a walk, etc. and etc. Maybe play some board games, go to a ballgame. Whatever.

Now, if, by the end of your vacation, you prayed and studied the Bible for an hour or two each day of the five, what did it cost you? Be honest. It was easy, wasn’t it, since you had an abundance of idleness. You were, for that week, at rest. Like the rich people in Mark 12/Luke 21, you didn’t really give that much time to prayer and study, from the Lord’s point of view. There were no other demands on your time. And why was it so easy? Because no pressure existed.

Now let us say you’re back at work this week, and instead of having all this extra free time, you’ve only got about two or three hours each day to pray, read your Word, spend time with your family, do the laundry, run errands, see the doctor, help with homework or housework, get the car into the shop for an oil change, and etc.

Now suddenly, there are demands on your time from every possible direction. Now, instead of having a nice, leisurely afternoon spent praying and reading your Bible, you’ve got fifteen minutes, max. Are you less spiritual because your prayer time lasted only 1/8 the time it did during your vacation?

Not at all. Spirituality isn’t quantified, it’s qualified.

So I suggest to you that those fifteen minutes given to the Lord in prayer are way more spiritual and end up doing more to make you spiritual than having 3 hours of free time every day to prayer. Those fifteen minutes are a greater sacrifice, just like the two mites offered by the widow woman as mentioned in Mark and Luke.

So next time you want to get down on yourself, or if someone else tries condemning you for not being spiritual enough, pay attention to the degree of pressure in your life. If the pressure is low, and you aren’t being very spiritual, then shame on you. But if the pressure is high, and you’re feeling the squeeze from all sides and angles, and yet, you manage to pray for some amount of time, or you manage to read your Bible, or make it to a church meeting, or worship for a few minutes, or just remembered to thank the Lord as your head hits the pillow, then my friend, you are way more spiritual than you realize.

You are, as Acts 14:22 reads, entering the Kingdom of God the prescribed way: through much pressure.

And good for you. 🙂

God bless.

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~ by votivesoul on 05/15/2013.

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