I want to start this post by making it very clear, I completely believe in prayer, fasting, and Bible reading. As you read on I’m sure you will see this to be evident. While I believe in these things with all my heart, I’ve also begun to see the damage in the misunderstandings about them. Most have believed, for various reasons, that their spirituality is solely based upon these things, and if we aren’t praying, reading, and fasting in large amounts, we have not even begun to be spiritual. The truly sad thing about this misunderstanding, is that almost none of us, myself included, are nowhere near where we want to be in these areas. In fact, most of us are ashamed by the lack of time spent giving to them. So, knowing this to be true, it can easily be said that not many of us feel spiritual at all. In fact, we see ourselves as spiritual failures.
I would like to try to shed a little light on this subject, in hopes of giving you some encouragement, and relieving some of your fears and doubts. Here are three easy Biblical ways to understand spirituality.
1. Letting go of identity
When we enter into a relationship with God we must allow Him to be first, to have His will over our own. Jesus gave us this pattern to start out with in prayer, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 KJV) I think the real question becomes, “how do I know what God wants from me?” While there isn’t one quick easy answer, there is one main request and theme that’s pushed throughout the entire New Testament. “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38 KJV) Then we see Paul making this statement in Romans 10:16. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” And if we are to be sent, as mentioned in verse 15, than we need to be yielded to His requests.
2. God-given power to us
We must understand why God has given us power. The power of God begins with understanding His love and forgiveness toward us, and next with loving others. Peter, who denied Jesus three times while in His darkest hour, was approached by Jesus after the resurrection. He didn’t ask Peter if he had gotten his prayer life in better order. Instead He gave him a chance to be restored by asking three times, “Do you love me?” When Peter responded yes to all three questions, Jesus then replied, “feed my sheep.” Understanding the love and forgiveness of God helps us to love and forgive others. When we love Jesus, we will feed His sheep.
3. Prayer and Bible reading
Prayer and Bible reading start with a need. We can’t expect to pick up the Bible and read three chapters, or kneel down for two hours of prayer every day when we have no reason to. Don’t misunderstand me, there is always a reason to pray and read, but do you personally have a deep need within yourself that’s driving you to it? Most of us do not. So as a result, when we try to force ourselves, we only feel as if we are spinning our wheels, thus leaving us thinking, “what’s the point?” The need is created within us when we start to see this world as Jesus did. “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36 KJV). A burden for the lost will drive you to your knees every time. You’ll see God’s Word as food that feeds you, so in turn, you’ll have food to feed others. You’ll gain a renewed hunger for prayer and Bible reading when you love as Christ loved.
Make no mistake, soul winning is one of those funny things. When you make up your mind to make it a life pattern, everything will change. God will put you in situations that will force you to show wisdom. Why? “…He that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30 KJV) God will also try to test you to keep you sharp, and on the proper path. Look at Abraham in Genesis 22. The chapter starts out by stating, “and God did tempt Abraham” and after the whole ordeal has played out, God says in verse 12, “now I know that you love me”.
I think it could all be summed up by saying, as you let your will go, you will see God’s will. As you see His will, you will feel His burden. As you feel His burden, you will want to do a work for Him. And as you do a work for Him, you will want to pray, read, and fast. And when you pray, read, and fast with this type of drive, you can’t help but become spiritual.