Are you Spiritual?
John D. Telgren

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what it means to be "spiritual." On one hand, being spiritual means assimilation of God's word. This is probably why Paul calls the word of God the "sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17)." However, I want to focus on what it means to do spiritual things. There are some things that do not seem to be spiritual activities. Mowing the grass, washing the dishes, changing diapers, etc. I have to wonder if our world-view which is informed by Greek dualism hasn't made a false dichotomy between what is "spiritual" and what is "physical?"

I've been going over some scriptures that deal with things that are spiritual, and there is a dichotomy, but I don't see it as being spiritual v.s. physical. Instead, I see it as being spiritual v.s. fleshly. For instance, Paul says in 1 Cor 3, " And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh" They were fleshly not because they were doing physical things, but because they were acting immature by arguing and splitting over preacher preferences.

Here is a rather interesting statement: " For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin (Rom 7:14)." Among other things, the law concerned things such as debts (Ex 22), farming (Lev 25), and other things we would consider "physical." Yet the Bible doesn't say that there are spiritual, and physical things in the law. The law is simply "spiritual."

" Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Rom 12:1)." Our bodies are to be a "living sacrifice." That means we no longer live according to our desires, but God's desire. There is no part of our life that this does not affect. Whether on the job, or at home, doing chores, spending time with the family, going to worship, all of it is in the context of being a living sacrifice to God. This means total submission to his will. Notice that this is our spiritual service of worship! When we go to work, it is a spiritual endeavor. We no longer work merely to make an income, we work to glorify God but providing for the family and being a godly example. We no longer just come home for personal time, it is time to serve God by being a good father, husband, wife, or mother. We no longer do chores when we come home from school just to do them or get an allowance. We do them to honor God by honoring our family.

You see, the dichotomy between "spiritual" and "physical" as we typically express them is not part of the Biblical world view. The Biblical world view has at its core, "The earth is the Lord's and all it contains (24:1)." Just because something is "physical" does not automatically make it unspiritual. What makes something unspiritual, or "fleshly," is when it is either in opposition to God or leaves him out of the picture. Maybe that is why Paul says, "But he who is spiritual appraises all things (1 Cor 2:15)." A spiritual person will discern and appraise everything so that even something as mundane as changing a diaper is a spiritual thing.

If you want to be more spiritual, start by transforming your activities. I don't mean necessarily changing them, but changing how you view them and your purposes for doing them. This is part of what Paul means when he says, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:2)." If you continue to read through Romans 12, you will find that a large part of being spiritual involves service to one another, which in most cases will involve something physical which becomes spiritual by its use. When you do this, then all your activities become "your spiritual service of worship."