When we think we have ‘the answer’ in a spiritual pathway, then we risk worldliness. Paul says,
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. … 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV)
Jesus was constantly harassed by leaders who were jealous for their own spiritual pathway. The Jewish leaders were, in these terms, worldly for the fruit of their passion was jealousy and quarrelling. We see this same fruit in the Church today under different spiritual banners.
Inevitably as we seek God we follow a spiritual pathway. When we do, we are tempted to find affirmation there. Jesus told the religious leaders, ‘How can you believe when you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?’ (John 5:44) Whichever pathway we are in, the time will come when Jesus will lead us to the cross as He crucifies our reputation or even our place in the pathway. This crucifixion can never be predicted or arranged, but when we are faced with the dilemma we know it! This crucifixion elevates Jesus as Lord over the pathway in our hearts. It seems we will lose all we have gained, but actually we gain Christ who is greater by far!
2 thoughts on “Worldly spirituality”
And, quite often, the crucifixion is a painful business. Mostly because we have stuck so rigidly to our own found pathways that we find being released or transported or otherwise relieved of the accoutrements we have piled up along the way very, very difficult. We have probably allowed them to grow on us and to grow into us and the removal is like tearing flesh. Not pretty. And for those of us who have suffered there is only the capacity to stand alongside those who are willing to undergo such a transformation in solidarity, encouragement and compassion. In my humble opinion and experience.
Well put. I think your comment about how things have grown into us is particularly insightful. It certainly produces the tearing of the flesh as we let them go. I remember when leading the UK Student Ministry my need to make sure I was not allowing that position to become my identity. When we make our identity anything other than Jesus, then it is really painful to see them go.
Then your second comment about standing alongside people who are undergoing this death, is really helpful. It is with compassion and encouragement. They are usually in a very vulnerable position.