Bible Question:

What is God's meaning of true spirituality? Our pastor has started a sermon series on spirituality. He is using the six basis of spirituality according to a book written by Richard Foster. I have severe reservations about the direction this series may take as it appears to be a topical sermon series. Also, he is not continuing his Wednesday Bible study on a book of the Bible but a topical supplement to the sermons preached on the prior Sunday, which apparently was at the determination of the group attending. Originally the Bible study was on a Tuesday and was recently changed to a praise, prayer, Bible meeting. The Bible study was cut to a half hour and not presented as an in depth study, but as an overview. I was determined to be open-minded and have an open-heart. Now it has changed again within a month and is now a topical supplement. I am having severe difficulty accepting this change. I feel the pastor is pushing his own needs and/or thinks this will promote growth in the congregation. I don't understand where he is going anymore and have lost my fervor to learn as it would not be possible anymore to find a qualified biblical teaching else where in the church. I feel completely let down by the church and the thought of attending another social function, meeting, or opportunity to feed myself instead of feasting on God's Word is just about ruining all hope I have in the Church.

Bible Answer:

The book you refer to by Richard Foster may be “Celebration of Discipline.” If so, the book is a reflection of things that he has personally experienced and believes helped him to grow spiritually. It appears that the author was looking for something more in the Christian life than what he had experienced.

Something More

Earlier this year I read a letter in which a woman described her deep disappointment about her Christian life. In the letter she asked, “Isn’t there something more to the Christian than this?” Her heart was in pain. She was grieving. She wanted something more. It is very common for Christians to want something more in their Christian lives. Many believers read journals and books, listen to tapes and CDs, attend seminars and special events, and plead with God for a deeper intimate relationship with Him. They are all looking for “something more!”

Finding More

Sometimes believers “feel” that they have found something more. Often this sense of finding “something more” is nothing more than a series of “spiritual disciplines” or “service unto the Lord.” For awhile they feel like they have found that for which they are seeking. As a result their Christian lifestyle and ministry at the church may change. They may teach others their new passion while they are still searching.

The Experience

But unfortunately, it often does not last and after a while they discover that they are looking for “something more” again. At first Bible study seems to meet the need, then it is worship, or some think it is in relationships – fellowship with other believers. But Jesus offered the “something more” when He said,

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 (NASB)

He was talking about a life filled with the Holy Spirit. He was talking about an ongoing experience or walk with God through the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to know the deep things of God more and more (1 Cor. 2:10-13). It is the Holy Spirit who sheds the love of God in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). It is the Holy Spirit who pulls us deeper and deeper into relationship with Jesus (1 John 2:12-14), if we want to grow.

David expressed the passion of his deep relationship with God when he wrote,

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God? (NASB) Ps. 42:1-2

He was in love with God. He was earnestly seeking a deeper and closer relationship with God with all his heart (Jeremiah 29:12-14) – as one friend knows another very close and personal friend. All through the Psalms David was seeking after God. The “something more” is found in seeking God with all your heart day after day. I would encourage you to read the brief study called “God’s Great Passion.” It is the Holy Spirit who fills the inner being

Conclusion

There are no spiritual disciplines when one is seeking God. There is only Jesus! There is nothing more. He is found in the pages of scripture, and not in routines or in going through the motions of spiritual disciplines. One will read scripture because that is where Jesus is found. It is there that we learn more about Him. One will not read scripture to just know scripture but to know Him. One will not pray because it is a duty but because that is your heart’s passion to communicate with the One you love! One will not confess sin because it is a duty but because one loves Him. May I encourage you to read “God’s Great Passion” and to seek Jesus with all your heart and soul. Love Him with all your heart (Matt. 22:37; Rev. 2:4)! This is true spirituality

We want to encourage you to mention your concerns to your pastor, and ask him to explain why he has made the changes. This can open communication. We also want to encourage you to pray for your pastor regarding the decisions he is making. God wants us to pray about everything and not complain (Eph. 6:18; Phil. 2:14). May the Lord give you wisdom.

 

Reference Links:

God's Great Passion