The Word–don’t pursue spirituality without it

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”—I have passed on to them the words you gave me; and they accepted them and know that I came from you.—I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world…keep them safe from the evil one…Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth.

I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart.—I will send you the Counsellor–the Spirit of truth.  He will come to you from the Father and will tell you all about me.—When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.—But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like and it will be granted!—For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.—…as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 

Moses said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today…For it is no empty word for you, but your very life…” 

 Jn.8:31-32 ESV; Jn.17:8 NLT; Jn.17:14-17 NLT; Jn.14:27 NLT; Jn.15:26 NLT; Jn.16:13 NLT; Ps.119:105 ESV; Jn.15:7 NLT; Heb.4:12 ESV; Eph.5:25-27 ESV; Deut.32:46,47 ESV

I’ve been reading a lot these days about forms of meditation, both secular and “Christian”.  I handle tote-loads of books donated to a local Christian thrift store and it soon becomes obvious that people are interested in spiritual answers to life’s troubles. The array of suggestions for peace of mind is varied but usually comes down to looking within and drawing on one’s own resources.  Meditation has become the panacea for all ills.  Everybody’s doing it (or at least recommending it!) What was once a thoroughly Biblical spiritual practice has been confounded by the practices of Buddhists and even of the ‘Desert Fathers’.  Where is the line to be drawn?  What is Biblical and what is not? One thing that jumps out at me in my study so far is that the spirituality taught in the Bible does not exist in a mindless experiential fog. It is parametered with Words.

While spiritual practitioners of other stripes insist that spirituality is at odds with absolutes, hindered by moral restraints and freed only by going within and refusing to pass judgment on my thoughts, letting them pass, transcending them till I get to the core of my being and find my own truth, my own answers…the spirituality portrayed in Scripture is fleshed out in non-negotiable Words.  Even one’s thoughts are to be brought to bow before its Truth. 

The record of God’s revelation to mankind is in a BOOK, using words, first the words of prophets, then of His own Son, the Word made flesh.  He has provided us in His Word the truths and promises necessary for life and godliness. He has instructed us to come into His presence with words–of thanks, praise and petition. We pray with words and expect to be heard by a personal and caring Father. He invites our allegiance to His Word. Abiding in and obeying His Words is the path of discipleship by which we will become like our Master.

Apart from this living and active Word of God spirituality runs amok.  Meditating on it is the source of all true spirituality.  

–LS

Take with you words and return to the LORD… Hosea 14:2

 

2 thoughts on “The Word–don’t pursue spirituality without it

  1. Great cautionary words, Linda. I find myself having to screen books very carefully — I don’t want to waste my time reading something that is purely based on happy talk or the author’s experience and opinions, but we’ve become very skilled in Christian circles at masking this as “gospel.”

  2. Oh Michele, often I have wondered how you manage to be so consistently positive in your reviews. Sounds like there’s been plenty of vetting going on behind the scenes. Thanks for dealing with the dross and bringing us just the good stuff! For that matter, I seem to function as a sort of liver or kidney at the local thrift–filtering out the gunk so it doesn’t hit the shelves. I guess maybe that’s my part in the Body of Christ–the kidney! Thanks for all you do on behalf of the worldwide Body, including stopping by here ( :

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