Vol. 5, No. 6
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What does it mean to be spiritually minded? The question itself seems ridiculous, because the answer should be obvious. However, many people have exchanged spirituality for pseudo-spirituality. They want the appearance of being spiritual without the responsibility that goes with it. Some equate zeal with spirituality, yet Paul indicated that zeal alone does not insure the proper spiritual mindset (Romans 10:1-2). Others get caught up in emotional hype, relying on the excitement, often of externals, to give them the strength by which to live. But neither of these is true spirituality. They fail to provide any strength and comfort after the initial "high" and create a dependency on the fervor and emotion of the moment rather than a trust in the God of eternity. Somehow, people have equated these emotions with being "Spirit-filled" and spirituality. God, on the other hand, always connects spirituality with our reception of and our living by the message revealed by the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4). "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).
Spiritual-Mindedness, then, is not a feeling but a determination -- a determination to direct our thoughts and our lives according to God's revealed will. Jesus taught in parables, especially early on in his earthy work, in order to stimulate spiritual thinking (Mark 4:10-12). "And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?" (Mark 4:10-13). In asking these two questions, Jesus showed that their problem in understanding the parable was a failure to think spiritually. Many times people err in their Bible study because their thinking remains centered on the physical. Some can only think of a kingdom as a political and geographical entity, failing to understand that Jesus was speaking of the spiritual kingdom of the church over which he now reigns (John 18:36; Matthew 16:18-19). Others can only see life after death in physical terms (indeed, many think of heaven in this way). Our ability to see the glory of the spiritual is often obscured by our own concentration on the material (Mark 7:14-23). Thus, being spiritually minded means thinking on spiritual things. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit" (Romans 8:5). When we are spiritually minded, we will meditate upon what God has said in his Word and let his words guide our view of everything else, and we will be looking for how our lives should change to match God's Word.
The essence of a spiritual mind is a concern for matters of the spirit, a diligent search for answers in God's Word, the product of the Holy Spirit's inspiration (1 Corinthians 2:12-16), and a constant reflection on the personal need to make the inspired words of the Spirit take life in our own lives. Spiritual-mindedness and spirituality are not the effect of emotionally charged atmosphere but are the turning of the mind to the things of God, understanding that he alone has the answers to life's questions and needs. A spiritual mind turns from man's doctrines and creeds to God's Word. A spiritual mind turns from worldliness and sin to the eternal and to truth. A spiritual mind rejects intuition and opinion and accepts God's answers. A spiritual mind does these things because it first turns toward God's Word.