Of course, I’m still writing about horses, and a few other things. But my latest published book was a devotional, and now I’m working on something else. Here’s a sample:
You are a spiritual being
Spirituality is a very personal, almost intimate, thing; however, it is likely the most visible characteristic about you. It shows in your speech, your actions, your manner of being. Your soul shines out through your eyes, no matter its condition. You can disguise your spirituality with jokes or bury it with alcohol or drugs, but that only makes your spiritual well-being stand out more – in a way less than stellar. You may not consider yourself outwardly spiritual, but if you are a living, breathing human, you have a conscience you are somewhere on the continuum from evil and filled with hate all the way to godly and filled with love. And even if you consider yourself at the top of that range, unless you are Jesus, there is always room for improvement. However, if you honestly believe that you are at the south end of that continuum and totally out of reach of anything good, there is still hope. The God we serve is big enough and strong enough to reach into the darkest caverns and lead anyone out – even you.
Now, you may consider that the word, spiritual, means witchcraft and mediums. Or at best, holds negative connotations as referring to the occult, and it does. But it is a bit broader than that. Don’t be afraid of that little word because it also refers to your walk with God. ‘Spiritual’ simply describes your ability to interact with the un-seen. Whether you choose to believe that or not, you can trust me on this, the Spirit believes in you.
You might say something like, “I’ve never been spiritual a day in my life.” Um, look back at that first paragraph. You might also say, “I am a deeply spiritual person. I meditate at least an hour every day.”
To that I say, “Good for you.” You are probably more calm and clever than the average joe. Meditation is great for the think tank, cleaning out the cobwebs and giving the synapses a bit of rest. Once the brain juices all get going in the same direction, you will feel like you’ve been on vacation, all refreshed and ready to go.
But that’s not going to do much for you when you stand at the Pearly Gates. In fact, nothing you say or do is going to buy you a ticket to Heaven. That ticket is a free gift, bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus. All you have to do is claim it. And then simply let it show.
There you have it, Christianity is not the same as Spirituality. Here’s a little secret: It’s not the same as Religion either. But, for now, we are talking about your spirit. Let me explain a little more.
So, you have your ticket. You’ve claimed Jesus as your personal savior. As long as you are still on the top side of the ground, that ticket will be safe in your pocket. That is, your shirt pocket, sort of sticking out a little bit so other people can see it. It’s pretty much a miracle, and I can’t really explain it very well, but once you have that ticket, Something starts to happen. Something starts to pull at you to do things differently. That Something shows up in your eyes. (It really, truly does! Remember, the window to your soul.) But whether it shows up in the rest of your life is up to you.
And what if nothing else in your life changes, like that foul language or your manners? What happens deep inside? How about Confusion? All of a sudden there is conflict between what shows up in your eyes and everything else. People can see this inner chaos. That stuff shines like a beacon. It hides in dark corners, or sits on your shoulder shouting into your ear. It throws a monkey wrench into everything you’ve been doing your whole life. It’s called Conviction. The Spirit, that is the Holy Spirit, is starting to work on you. Teaching. Coaxing. Comforting. Encouraging. Calling. Your answer to that call is your spirituality.
Your ticket to Heaven isn’t going to fall out of your pocket. The Spirit isn’t going to leave you. So, you may as well not fight it. Give in. Keep it healthy and growing.
Your Spiritual Vital Signs
How do you check the health of your spirituality? Same way the doctor checks your physical health. They use instruments to measure your blood pressure, heart rate, weight, temperature, blood sugar. And periodically you get the lab work; complete blood panel, liver and kidney functions, maybe even an x-ray. Okay, so how do you weigh your soul? By what instrument do you measure the pressure and chemical balance of your essence?
First, you have to know your spiritual vital signs; the mysterious functions of that which makes you what and who you are. Basically, the traits and characteristics vital to a Christian. Some of these are fairly obvious and relatively easy to measure, like your blood pressure. This would be the time and effort you spend in the book or on your knees. Or the time you spend in church or gathered with other Christians – and discussing the Lord and His Word. You can also measure charity work and of course that which you offer out of your pocket.
If this doesn’t quite look like the total picture of a Christian, you’re right. Ultimately, we must establish the very fact that you are of the ‘Christian’ species, not an onlooker or member of another humanoid branch. That means you can point to a specific time in your life when you made a conscious decision to follow Jesus. This has little to do with denomination or how many times a week you darken the doorway of your chosen house of worship. And it’s not the person who may have been baptized as an infant, because that would be like standing behind someone else’s decision to believe. You can’t get in on another person’s ticket. But believe it or not, it’s not such a bad thing to be a skeptic. At least you are thinking about it and are willing to ‘test the spirit’. Everyone is welcome to sample the wares.
Looking a little deeper, we will see the forces which drive your social circulation system, your cultural filtering and waste removal systems, the emotional respiratory systems which keeps things going, and the protective covering that keeps the whole thing together. What?! And how in the world do we measure that? The same way your doctor checks the functions of your internal organs. The lab work.
All you need are the right instruments. And just like your physical vitals, your spiritual vitals can change, so they must be checked regularly.
Second, let’s get to know some of the symptoms. A few of these are easy to recognize and spot. But there are hidden indicators of health – or impending illness. Answer these questions as truthfully as possible, there’s no need to try to hide this stuff from yourself, you will always catch yourself. And that’s just embarrassing. So just do it. There is no right or wrong answer. Feel free to call it how you see it.
What is my relationship with God? _______________________________________________________
I have been a Christian
|Not long||Long time|
|Less than a month||I was born Christian||A few months||A few years||Most of my life||My numbers|
What is my own definition of Spiritual? ___________________________________________________
As a spiritual person, I
|Not at all||Very much|
|don’t really understand||am in a perfect level for my life||am a little timid to consider this||am a strong spiritual person||strive for a more spiritual life||My numbers|
What do I believe about Prayer? __________________________________________________________
The time I spend in prayer
|Not much||Very much|
|I don’t know if prayer is real||I’m in a perfect level for my life||I schedule three times daily||Every chance
|I wish to develop a stronger prayer life||My numbers|
What do I believe about Church? __________________________________________________________
Meeting with other Christians to worship and learn is
|Not much||Very much|
|Not important, 1 or 2 times yearly||Fairly regular churchgoer||Only Church and Sunday School||I’m there when the door opens||I miss it when I miss a meeting||My numbers|
What do I believe about reading the Bible? _______________________________________________
The time I spend reading and studying scriptures
|Don’t||I live for it|
|It’s not really that important||Don’t have much time for reading||Try to spare a bit of time weekly||Everywhere all the time||I wish I had more time to really study||My numbers|
Why do I really want to read through the Bible? __________________________________________
My motivation for reading the Bible cover to cover in one year is
|Don’t want to||I love it|
|I’m doing it for someone else||I accepted a challenge||I want to. Never done it before||I’m doing this with others||I truly wish to
Finally, the diagnosis. Make sure you selected a truthful value, 1-5 for each question. Write that number in the last column, then add them up for your score and an overview of your general spiritual health.
6-10, you are gravely ill. You need to seek the Great Physician quickly
12-18, you are malnourished and need to feed your spirit a lot more.
19-24, you are fairly healthy, but you need exercise, a good meal, and drink more water of Life
25-30, you have a good healthy spiritual life, but there is always room for growth
This is an excerpt from my current work in process. At this point, this is supposed to be a year-long Bible reading plan complete with a few extra chapters to keep things interesting and moving forward. It is an idea that sprung up just a few weeks ago. I’m leaving this in God’s hands and allowing Him to provide the growth for the book.
Your comments are welcome.