Spiritual: By Accident or Intent?

1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench the Spirit. . .”

Ephesians 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

God wants you to be all you are capable of being in Jesus Christ.  Why?  God wants you to intentionally focus your physical existence on the time that occurred when He surveyed all He made and said, “It is good!”  Your distant ancestors were included in that statement!

There seems to be at least three classifications of people.  (1) Those who have no interest in spiritual matters.  To them, the only important consideration in existence is the physical.  They prefer to indulge the physical while giving little thought to the spiritual. 

(2) Those who wish to give just enough consideration to the spiritual to avoid disaster.  It is not so much that they are afraid of hell as it is that they do not wish to go to hell if it exists.  It is not so much that they wish to go to heaven, but they would like heaven to be their ‘fall back’ plan if there happens to be an eternity and heaven. 

(3) Those who wish to use physical realities to enhance spiritual realities.  These are fully convinced that we humans are spiritual beings designed to exist with God Himself.  They view life as an investment. By choice, they invest the physical in the spiritual.

In a huge oversimplification, among those who acknowledge spiritual existence is at least a possibility, there seems to be two general classifications [with many hybrid classifications]: Those who wish to be spiritual by accident, and those who wish to be spiritual on purpose.  Christians seek to be spiritual on purpose.

For a moment, consider spiritual existence from a genuine Christian perspective [with so many counterfeit perspectives declaring to be Christian, this is not a simple challenge]. From the genuine Christian perspective, the physical is temporary and the spiritual is eternal.  The spiritual, not the physical, addresses who we really are—to the extent that the spiritual defines the physical rather than the physical defining the spiritual.  The goal is complex but also simple: the goal is to allow God to define who and what we are.

Paul’s admonition to Christians in Thessalonia and Ephesus: “Do not resist God’s influence in your lives.”  To them, God’s Spirit was God’s influence as they lived in corrupt environments, corrupt societies, and corrupt communities.  On many occasions, it was easier to hide God’s influence on them than display God’s influence on them.  Often it was simpler to behave in ways that made it harder for God to be a living influence in them.  It is just so much more convenient to be ungodly in an ‘unspiritual’ environment!

What about you?  Are you spiritual in all environments because that is what you want?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 15 June 2006

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