Some people do not have a spiritual life. They lead a busy life, a productive life and because of that maybe a self-important life - but not actually a spiritual life. Others think that a religious life is spiritual life but it’s not. Religion is involved in externalities. Spiritual life is about our being, the wholeness of it, and our connection to the One who made creation and to the creation itself. Genuine connection with self, creation and others begins with union with God - the one in whom we have our being, our purpose and our healing.
This is the essence of spirituality, of life in the Spirit and our new covenant inheritance: ‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20
Genuine spirituality involves union with our origins and where we are going - our destiny. But its more than a linkage to abstractions. You can have a personal connection, an intimate one with the God who made you and redeemed you into a position where you grow relentlessly into your real self.
There’s the false self we can live in - the one we need to be reborn from and which we need to traverse before passing on to the next part of our lives. Then there is the true self. The one that is reborn from the grave of our own death and our many deaths, that result in making us amenable to laying down what is old and does not work and taking up a new life in the resurrected Jesus.
Charles Ringma writes, “The spiritual life ... has nothing to do with touching the edges of our lives. Its value does not lie in transforming the periphery of who we are. Its purpose is not simply to add some extra qualities to our lives. The spiritual life has to do with the very core of our existence.” (1)
THE HOLLOW MEN
Many people have no core. Some of the most practical and in their own minds, successful people have no inner being. They are simply the shifting substance of their ceaseless activity - a creature of the socio-economic system to which their core has been farmed out in misguided loyalty. Some have a slight substance. But they too farm their core out to those who have spent some time in thought; who have established a degree of wholeness through a relationship with God and have access to living water. They are sometimes touched by a few scattered drops splashing from these dishes in the halls of religious consumerism. But their life has never been touched by the fullness of God. As a result they are never fully themselves – just a caricature of some shadow of the real.
You can be real and a person of consequence with little effort other than choosing Jesus instead of religion. You can possess a core because Jesus has you and you are linked through Him to the only objective reality there is – the trinity that is God. Linked by Jesus you are in God and God is in you. You are real and you create reality because God is part of you and you are part of God. Realize this: ‘Realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20
(1) Charles Ringma. Dare to Journey--with Henri Nouwen (Designed for Influence) (Kindle Locations 476-478). Kindle Edition.