Spirituality

By John Ballinger

August 31, 2015

Recently, we were south of Columbus and saw a billboard advertising the outdoor drama “Tecumseh.” We have been to see this awesome performance a few times and agree it is worth the short trip to Chillicothe. On their website, viewers are invited to: “Witness the epic life story of the legendary Shawnee leader as he struggles to defend his sacred homelands in the Ohio country during the late 1700s.”

 

Of course all of that is hard to put on a billboard so they chose instead to only use three words to promote the production: “Tecumseh—It’s Spiritual.” We were a bit confused about the billboard even though we’d seen the drama. Why were they using the word spiritual here? How can the violent story about the life of a man struggling to protect his people be spiritual? However, take a look at what society defines as spiritual and the billboard becomes much clearer. Saying an event is spiritual once referred to a religious experience, an interaction with God. Now it seems “spirituality” can have a whole lot of definitions—and many of them have little to do with God and more about the “godliness” we assign ourselves.

 

According to those who study this type of thing, there is a new group of spiritualists out there, a group referred to as “Nones.” I’m sure many of you know a None. These are the people who when asked which Christian denomination they belong to check the box that says “none.” There are atheists in the group, but many Nones say they believe in God, they are simply not religiously affiliated with any church or denomination.

 

The age range of the “None” is broad. According to a 2014 Pew Research study, the largest group of Nones are those born between 1980 and 1995; around 35 percent of these answered they have no religious affiliation at all. Many though are quick to point out they believe in God but they are not Christians; they believe in a variety of doctrines. Sixty percent say they have a deep connection with nature and the earth, 30 percent believe in a spiritual energy of physical objects, 30 percent have felt “in touch” with someone dead, 25 percent believe in astrology and reincarnation, and 15 percent have consulted a psychic.* If you’ve read your Bible recently, you’ll note none of these appear except in the “watch-out-for” category.

 

The problem we are dealing with is the same problem we as Christians have faced for centuries. The devil has a way of altering our perception of the truth just enough to make almost anything seem acceptable. The problem with “spirituality” that is not based in Scripture is where it can lead. When people start believing they can talk to the dead and find their future predicted in the stars, we need to get concerned.

 

These practices of worshiping creation instead of worshiping the Creator have been around for centuries. It’s just today’s “anything-goes” attitude and the technology of the internet have given these practices new life. It is another one of the battlegrounds on which we as Christian believers find ourselves. Maybe you have talked to people who say they believe in God or a supreme being. They will tell you there is a God but when you start to talk about how they are to live their lives and the saving grace of Jesus Christ, they bristle a little. When you add to that we are all sinners, they turn you off.

 

In conversations like these, I am reminded of a line from the movie “A Few Good Men”: “You can’t handle the truth.” Is that the problem? Have we grown so insistent on our own “god-ness” that we don’t even recognize God? I pray not. We as Christians need to spend more time in God’s Word so we can be sure of the truth in our own hearts—and to share that Truth. This isn’t accomplished by listening to someone else’s interpretation of the Bible but by listening to what God is saying to us through His Word and to not be hesitant but rather boldly speaking out.

 

Take time today to be in your Bible, reading God’s Word. Educate yourself on what the Bible says; go to Bible studies and Sunday school and dig deeper into the Word with your fellow believers. Learn to differentiate between the Truth and society’s definition. Support one another and call one another to task if necessary when straying occurs. We need none other than the HOLY Spirit as the guiding force in our lives, forsaking all others.

 

As Peter said, we are to get rid of all ill will and all deceit, pretense, envy, and slander.  Instead, like a newborn baby, desire the pure milk of the word. Nourished by it, you will grow into salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:1-3, CEB). As followers of Jesus Christ, we are always to be on the lookout for anything that could detour us from our walk with the Lord.

 

As for Tecumseh, his spirituality, and his billboard: Live so your life will be a walking billboard for God and let the true spirituality of the Great I AM be evident in your life. Be a witness to God and let other see Him personified in your life.

 

*The Philadelphia Trumpet, August 2015, pp. 16–17.

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