Christian View on Spirituality

The Bible gives a very different definition and view of spirituality. In 1 Corinthians 3:3 it tells us that “for you are carnal minded still. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” To be carnal is to behave like men, thus its opposite (spirituality) is simply to behave like God.

Spirituality is simply being godly, or possessing godliness. A fine working definition of spirituality says knowing God so I can please God. And, this is what godliness (spirituality) is all about. Paul makes this clear: “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). Spirituality is forever tied to knowing God and doing God’s will. Let’s break these ideas out. In our society, spirituality has come to mean so many different views. First, much of today’s spirituality movement is certain no one source holds all truth. Second view is doing what you want, how you want, when you want. Now American spirituality really is seen as a do it yourself religion. People are practicing vision quests, nature hikes, or just about anything else any one wants to do. So Doing what you like and telling people it was a spiritual experience is what people are doing today. We often hear the word “spirituality” used to signify that one has faith in a higher power.
Spirituality as it is seen in Christianity is to believe in God. We believe that God loves us. We believe that Jesus died for us. We believe that Jesus rose from the death with all power in his hand. We believe that our rebellious attitudes and transgressions against God not only keep us from a real and personal relationship but from eternal salvation as well. Spirituality can do nothing; its believing in and worshipping a higher being. Spirituality as it relates to Christianity says believe on a merciful God that loves and offers us redemption in spite of, and because of, our sins. Therefore it makes a way for us to know His eternal grace without you having to do anything but believe that Truth. If we were to survey the contemporary scene today with no pretensions at being exhaustive, we would notice a renewed interest in traditional spiritual paths together with an almost confusing bunch of new developments.

In recent years there has been a lot of interest in Christian spirituality, especially in its more contemplative aspects. It is this very aspect that people have had a more practical view than a theoretical orientation, and is to be found among lay people as well as priests and religious. What we are seeing in this widespread I believe, that is not good but is happening that is a Contemporary Christian Spirituality. This type of spirituality has become a growing effect on Christian spirituality for this new century, and these groups point to four major characteristics that spirituality would have: (1) the rediscovery and reevaluation of the riches of the Christian spiritual tradition, (2) a new psychological awareness born out of an encounter with depth psychology, (3) a living and loving contact at the level of practice with other spiritual paths, and (4) a new sense of closeness and reverence for the earth. I don’t think it would be difficult to reach some kind of agreement about what is happening today and what the future might hold. In every one of these four areas we are faced with real serious problems if we do not address the issue. People of all walks of life felt compelled to ask themselves whether they, too, were being called to become contemplatives. What is needed, instead, is a genuinely interactive approach in which philosophy, theology and psychology all retain their distinctive natures and make their own contributions. Then the way is opened for an enriched Christian spirituality in which the life of prayer and the process of individuation, while viewed as distinct processes, are also seen as interpenetrating and vitally interacting in the one concrete psyche. These four problems can serve as examples of the kinds of challenges that exist in each of the four areas that are converging to create a Christian spirituality of the future.

The monastic/communal dimension recognizes that Christian spirituality requires a relational expression. Even those called to the deepest kinds of solitude need some form of community for discernment, support, guidance and grounding. In the past, Christian mysticism was growing primarily in monasteries, and it was predicted that mysticism would be the future. This type of religion was in pursuit of a strong communion and connection the community. Contemplation is grounded in Christ’s instruction about prayer: “whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). These key elements for contemplative practice, Secrecy, silence, solitude, and withdrawal we seek to encounter them to see the face of God in darkness, loneliness, and stillness. Here we move beyond the certainties of the mind into the paradox and ambiguity of unknowing. Many Christian contemplatives and the practitioners of other contemplative paths have begun to see that the path of contemplation is the path of entering into altered or higher forms of consciousness. The transformation engages them and the community on how they relate to the world as a whole. So while many may be having a strong appeal to dismiss contemplative practice as a form of spiritual self-indulgence, in reality it is an essential component to maintaining healthy relationships: with God, with ourselves, and with one another. While everyone has a right to believe whatever they want to about God; and the right to believe not in God it is their chose. Those practicing religions which deny who Jesus is cannot be indwelt by God the Holy Spirit.

The many physical, psychological, and social stressors that often accompany life-threatening diseases that an individual is facing with terminal illnesses Spirituality may be particularly important for them. In addition, the unpredictable nature of such illnesses may limit the effectiveness of traditional coping strategies. Understanding the relationship between spirituality and psychological well-being requires an understanding of the relationship between institutional religion and spirituality. They have said that religion and spirituality are somewhat the same but they are not and have important distinctions. Spirituality can exist both within and outside of a religious framework. People who say that they are spiritual may not be religious. Religion, on the other hand, denotes an organized system of beliefs, practices, and ways of worship. Now religion maybe a way to express our spirituality but religion is less on the spiritual aspect but more traditional has rituals and has social interaction. “Schizophrenia remains a debilitating, often chronic disease that can be associated with impairment in multiple domains of functioning (1). The concept of recovery (2) may be useful in caring for patients with schizophrenia, through its emphasis on personal achievement rather than symptom reduction” (Huguelet, Mohr, Borras, Gillieron, & Brandt 2006). Looking from this view religion is defined in a broad sense as including both spirituality and religious is helpful for patients who maybe suffering with a disease. A study reported showed they examined the extent to which religion helped outpatients with schizophrenia to cope with their illness. The outcome they came up with was that religion is important for patients who have or suffer with a chronic psychotic illness and may not be that important for clinicians than in the general population. A patient’s religions practices and spirituality is what they use to get through hard times and is most often neglected by most doctors.
In this article Spirituality and the Black Helping Tradition in Social Work they discussed spirituality practice with individuals, groups, and communities of African descent. Elmer P. Martin and Joanne M. Martin have published extensively in the field of social work, with a particular emphasis on the black family. Their focus on early black caregivers’ and social workers’ use of spirituality in their work with black people is a rich resource for the varying fields of mental health practice to understand the historical context of race and oppression in working with African Americans. So looking at that spirituality is broken up in so many levels and that was just a small piece of a big pie. When assessing spiritually it contains so many areas that people look at I guess when faced with issues. Here are some issues spirituality is used for, nature of the holy, actions of the holy, personal responsibility, rituals and practices, affective responses, vocation, community, grief, forgiveness, hope, and meaning. These areas take time to understand and some practice to learn how to use them effectively in the treatment process. Fortunately, there are religiously trained professionals who work with these complicated patient issues, and they are called chaplains. When a psychiatrist and chaplain work together to address the complexities of a patient’s religious/spiritual issues, the patient is better served, and treatment is optimized. Another study showed that during the six-month period of a person that was a recovering alcoholic they use spirituality as part of their sobriety including daily spiritual experiences, use of religious practices, forgiveness, positive use of religion for coping, and feelings of purpose in life.
The main finding from another study called Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt was that those with some type of religious affiliations were less likely to have a history of suicide attempts, the best predictor of future suicide or attempts. Individuals with religious connections have reported to have less suicide attempts at the time of an evaluation. If the has a severity of depression, number of adverse life events, and severity of hopelessness they show less likely to commit suicide. The reason for the risk factor for suicidal acts to be less likely is, because it was found to be related to religion. Therefore, religion may provide a positive force that counteracts suicidal ideation in the face of depression, hopelessness, and stressful events. Having a religious commitment promotes social ties and reduces alienation. If you have a weaker family ties in religiously unaffiliated subjects, and family members are reported to be more likely to provide reliable emotional support, nurturance, and reassurance of worth. Having some type of spirituality as it relates to Christianity proves to be helpful in your everyday life. Spirituality is very much has a place in the world and is a method for learning to know God and our relationship to Him. Spiritual practices, such as spiritual healing, utilize the understanding and the power of the laws of Spirit. There are actually laws of Spirit that awaken man from material practices to the reality of God. What we’re discovering with our understanding of Spirituality is God, and that we’re always in Spirit’s presence, and we’re under His divine, beautiful, and powerful laws. If we’re not deceived by the so-called material or physical laws, and we realize we’re still under those spiritual laws, those spiritual laws reign right where we are physically. And so they have all say about what’s going on. And we can still govern ourselves according to man’s law because we are following God’s law.

In Closing, Spirituality should give you a perception to be grateful for even the small things are the grace and the beauty of God being expressed to us and they can be a really big help in times like these. And lastly the three foundational characteristics of spirituality are Faith, Hope and Love. Spirituality is easily identified in people who have a faith and belief in the power and presence of God in their lives. Their faith enables them to believe that God is helping them in their times of trouble, sorrow and pain. Faith is the belief that God will never abandon or forget you during your time of need. Spirituality is easily identified in people who have hope and trust in God’s mercy, wisdom and justice. Their hope enables them to “let go and let God.” Their hope enables them to hand over their sense of over responsibility, guilt, rescuing and enabling to God’s hands. Their hope enables them to take a “tough love” stance in order to get help for the troubled persons in their lives. Hope is reflected in the following prayer: Serenity Prayer, God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Spirituality is easily identified in people who are active in showing love, concern and generosity to others. And in the end they are able to make a difference in people’s lives.

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