1 Corinthians 2: 13-16 “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
Today there is so much talk of spirituality. Many with a fake humility lay claim to ‘their’ spirituality as a hard earned destination they’ve come to after a tough road through life’s troubles. Yet their spirituality is only as deep as their mouth never quite getting to their actions or relationships with others. How do you spot these fakes? They are self- centered. They are selfish. There is no change in their lives – no transformation.
The Bible tells us what they are like; “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things . . . . ” (Philippians 3:18,19) Fake spirituality will often praise itself by comparing itself favourably with religion appealing to a false contrast – comparing apples to oranges. Paul contrasts spiritual wisdom with natural wisdom and compares apples to apples and oranges to oranges.
True spirituality comes from God. Jesus taught Nicodemus about the difference true spirituality makes in a man’s life; “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’” (John 3:3-8) Nicodemus for all his religious training was a natural man and had trouble understanding what Jesus was teaching him.
And how do we become ‘born again? How do we achieve true spirituality? Barnes’ Notes tells us; “To escape from sin, to be happy in the world to come, it is necessary that man should be changed in his principles, his feelings, and his manner of life. This change, or the beginning of this new life, is called the ‘new birth,’ or ‘regeneration.’ It is so called because in many respects it has a striking analogy to the natural birth. It is the beginning of spiritual life. It introduces us to the light of the gospel.”
A person who has been ‘born again’ grows and matures in faith and understanding of spiritual things. Such a person will appear foolish to the world in many ways but can only be judged by the Word; “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24) Matthew Henry tells us that; “Every faithful minister may humbly adopt Christ’s words. His doctrine is not his own finding out, but is from God’s word, through the teaching of his Spirit. And amidst the disputes which disturb the world, if any man, of any nation, seeks to do the will of God, he shall know whether the doctrine is of God, or whether men speak of themselves.”
The journey of a spiritual person doesn’t starts with any terrible trials or bad experiences such as ‘going to hell and back’ nor does it end with such a journey. The journey of a spiritual person starts with being ‘born again’ by accepting the Gospel. It is a journey of continual conversion ending in being conformed to the likeness of Jesus; “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:11,12)
When we start the spiritual journey we die and don’t come back. Being born again is like being born the first time in that your life will never be the same as it was. Being born again is different from being born the first time in that you are born into the certainty of eternal life not certain death. Scripture tells us; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Jesus tells us plainly; “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” (John 12:24,25)
Praise the Lord!