In our last post we saw that the ‘spiritual’ fervor portrayed by potential spouses can turn out to be deceptive when their true objective or character is revealed in marriage. We called this the ‘spirituality shock’.
In today’s post, we will consider the reasons why many Christians fall into this pit and show you how you can avoid endangering your marriage as a result of marrying an ‘unspiritual’ person.
Marriage is foremost spiritual, because it is a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church (cf. Eph. 5:32), and since Christian marriages are tools of warfare against the Enemy’s plans, the devil will do everything he can to destroy them (cf. Eccl. 4:9-12).
A marriage built on Christ as foundation and in which the couples relate with God is, therefore, inevitable if that marriage’s anchor will hold against the storms of life and attacks of the Enemy. This is why for any Christian, a potential spouse’s relationship with God is paramount in making the final decision of who to marry. But why do we get it wrong when it comes to making the decision?
Getting the ‘spiritual’ right
For many Christians, their idea of who a ‘spiritual’ person is finds expression in the prideful statement of the Pharisee in Luke 18: “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess” (v. 12).
These activities are no doubt performed by spiritual persons, but not everyone who performs these actions is spiritual. Consider Jesus’ testimony of this Pharisee; He said the Pharisee was unjustified because of his pride: “for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (v. 14).
The measure of the Pharisee’s spirituality was not in his fasting or paying of tithes, but in his attitude towards God and man (cf. vv. 11-13). His attitude was one of pride. So in considering who a spiritual person is, we need to look at their attitude towards God and man, not their outward performance or show of religiosity.
While every spiritual person will commit to religious activities like praying, reading the Bible, paying tithes, fasting, going to church or operating in a spiritual gift, carnal Christians can also perform these activities (cf. 1 Cor. 1:4-7, 3:1-4). But what sets the spiritual man apart from the carnal Christian is that the spiritual person has an attitude towards God and man that bears witness to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and its result of fruit-bearing (John 15:1-17; Gal. 5:22-26; Titus 2).
Being spiritual is not in tongues-speaking, charisma or ‘anointing’
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23a). It is not tongues-speaking, prayer and fasting, wearing the crucifix, ministering in the sweetest voice, casting out demons. There is a difference between gifts and fruit. A person can possess the gift of healing, yet be leading the young women in his church into sexual sin.
Consider Paul’s description of the Corinthian believers in different verses. In fact the Corinthian Church can be called the ‘spiritual gifts’ church—according to Paul, they lacked no gift (1 Cor.1:7). Regrettably, they were divided (1:10, 3:3, 11:18-19), contentious (1:11, 3:3, 6:5-6), sexually immoral (5:1), and puffed up in knowledge (5:2, 8:1-2). They defrauded their fellow Christians (6:8), abused their freedom in Christ (8:1-10:33), and looked down on those with gifts regarded as ‘irrelevant’ (1 Cor. 12).
What was Paul’s conclusion:
And, I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal (1 Cor. 3:1-3a).
Were these not the same people Paul described as lacking no spiritual gifts? But Paul says they are carnal. Their attitude towards God and their fellow humans was nowhere near spirituality. Their attitude was in tandem with the works of darkness: envy, strife, divisions, pride, adultery, fornication, idolatry, homosexuality, thieving, fraud.
“Oh, but he is an anointed man of God.”
Was Saul anointed? Was David anointed? In what way can you differentiate David’s spirituality from the carnality of Saul? The difference was in their attitude towards God and man. One thing that is common to the spiritual and carnal Christian is that none of them is perfect, but the spiritual Christian possesses an attitude of humble submission towards God and of loving endurance towards man.
Haven’t you heard of Christians who sing under the anointing and yet are at loggerheads with their next door neighbours? Or a Christian leader fighting with another over a position in church? Or a boyfriend who just returned from church demanding sex from his girlfriend?
So who is the ‘spiritual person’?
The spiritual person is one who has surrendered to the Lord and makes God His delight by obeying His word, his life being evidence of God’s transforming power.
We will continue to explore this topic in our subsequent posts.
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If you are a young person, between JHS to tertiary level, and would like to join our mentoring and discipleship group in order to grow your walk with God, WhatsApp or call our Programmes Assistant on 0207567560.
This is part of a series of lessons for the first year of marriage as part of our discipleship ministry, Mimesis Christou (find out more about this ministry here and here). The vision of Mimesis Christou is to intentionally disciple young people to be effective, faithful followers of Jesus Christ. We believe that marriage has a bearing on how faithfully Christians walk with the Lord, hence the introduction of these lessons.