May. 16, 2016

SPF (Spiritual Protection Factor)

Father, as I inhale a natural breath, please spark Your Spirit in my soul. Speak to me, Lord. Speak through me, Lord. Speak up for me and please speak in spite of me. Thank you for imparting wisdom when we ask for it and teaching us lessons even when we don’t realize we need them. Amen.

Each and every one of us is a spiritual creature. We may not believe it. We can deny it. We seem to forget it, but every human being has a hole in their soul that must be filled with something spiritual. All of us move through life as if God is only a small portion of our world. This blog is written to and for Christ followers. You do not have to be a church member, but you do have to be a person who has already and is willing to continue seeking and developing your spiritual nature.

I am different. Notice I did not say that I am better. I am different and it has taken me many years to accept my difference, embrace my difference and lean into my difference. Let me give you a short history of my spiritual walk and, again, I believe it will explain just about every blog and every Facebook post you see written by me.

For as long as I can remember, God called me to be a spiritual leader. Once we accept the fact that we are a spiritual being and we embrace the fact that God wants to use us to lead other people into a faith relationship with Him through Christ Jesus, we move up to a position of spiritual leadership. Spiritual leaders speak (sometimes shout; sometimes bark) scripture as their way of fulfilling the call to point people to God. Spiritual leaders teach that you must be involved in a close-knit church in order to please God. Spiritual leaders stand firm in the idea that we are the church.

When I am serving as a spiritual leader, I typically find it necessary to prove my point. I may leave very little wiggle room for disagreement. This is unfortunate because many of the people I am reaching out to or teaching may not understand or agree with what I am saying, but they do not feel they have the freedom to disagree. A spiritual leader may or may not know how to handle questions or someone who disagrees unless they are willing to accept they just might be wrong or God reveals truth differently.

At some point, we are no longer satisfied as a spiritual leader and we move into a spiritual growth trajectory. This does not mean we stop serving. During our spiritual growth phase, we enter the church with a particular mindset and leave the church a new revelation of all the same scriptures. If the church is doing its job and we are teachable, we should see ongoing spiritual growth. We will look back over the past six months, twelve months, three years, etc. and see obvious changes in our spiritual direction because we are experiencing spiritual growth. It’s a painful period because, like physical growth, there are much-needed growing pains in order to stretch us and develop us spiritually. During spiritual growth, we seek to move beyond knowing what scripture says into understanding what scripture means. People in a spiritual growth mode say, “Get out of the church and make the message known.”

To be considerate of your time and my space, I am going to move to where I am in my spiritual walk. I search for and seek spiritual formation. When you are prepared to move into spiritual formation, varying beliefs do not bother you. They do not bother you because you trust God to be Who He is and you don’t require God look like how you’ve drawn Him. Spiritual formation requires – no, I am going to say this more strongly – spiritual formation demands that you willingly look through the lens of God in order to move past religion, denomination, tradition, and comfort. Most people choosing to move into spiritual formation are very uncomfortable in church because everyone is trying too hard to follow the leader as opposed to seeking The Leader. Spiritual formation allows you to ask what other people believe and not move into attack mode when they voice something you disagree with spiritually. Spiritual formation works on “me” not needing to change “them.” Truthfully, we typically have much better luck with the lost, unsaved, unchurched, whatever term you use, during spiritual formation as opposed to any other phase. People in spiritual formation “be” and “let others be” while allowing spiritual discussions to occur naturally and pop up anywhere. Spiritual formation says, “It’s not about the church. It’s about the purpose of the church in the world.” Spiritual formation doesn’t demand, “You have to think like me!” Spiritual formation asks, “What do you believe?” and then responds with, “I believe…filling in the blank,” but always pointing to Christ.

Spiritual leadership says, “Sin is the result of not knowing and not doing what the Bible teaches.”

Spiritual growth says, “You are going to make mistakes. What is God trying to teach you from your mistakes?”

Spiritual formation says, “To get it right, go back to the point where you got it wrong and ask God for a re-do.”

Are you wearing your SPF? Is it time to try a different strength? Since I am operating in spiritual formation mode, I don’t have to give you the answers or even the bible verses. Seeking is up to you.