What does “Being Spiritual” really Mean?

by Lester Young

Have you ever found yourself thinking that you’re just not “spiritual” enough?  Oh, sure, you know you’re saved and believe that Jesus is always with you, abiding in your heart (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).  Yet, sometimes, even that truth will conjure up questions in your mind like, “If I’m so saved, how come I don’t feel like Jesus is with me more than I do?  I just wish I could feel His presence more – that would help me be more ‘spiritual.’  It’s like…every time I turn around I’m having to deal with another doubt-filled thought or temptation – like my head is just a big magnet that attracts them or something.”  (Of course, it’s not God’s Words that are actually giving rise to those thoughts; you know very well who’s whispering those things to you, trying to twist the Truth on you the same way he tried with Jesus [John 17:17; Matthew 4:3, 6].)

In order to not fall prey to such trickery (and that’s exactly what it is [Ephesians 6:11]), we need to recognize that there are two distinct issues in play here, and we must understand them both.  First is the notion of a necessity to feel anything with regard to spiritual matters.  Our feelings and emotions are of a carnal nature because they’re situated in and influenced by our natural mind, body and surroundings.  As such, they can change at the drop of a hat, telling us something completely different from one day to the next or even from moment to moment, which means that they can’t be counted on as particularly trustworthy scoutmasters (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Trying to use feelings to determine the existence or veracity of spiritual things is, basically speaking, impossible; because our feelings are governed almost entirely by our physical senses, which can’t perceive God or the spiritual world (John 14:17; Romans 8:7-8).  Now, don’t misunderstand; I have no doubt that it’s certainly possible to experience a natural feeling or emotion from a spiritual occurrence.  However, it’s also possible to go through life from start to finish and never have a ‘feeling’ due to the Spirit.  The point here is that we’re not to be governed or led by our feelings because they’re transitory and can’t be trusted to provide us with all the information we need to make sound decisions.  Leadership and guidance is the Holy Spirit’s job, and He’s the One we’re supposed to be following (John 16:13; Romans 8:1, 4, 14).

And that, by the way, brings us to our second topic: ‘being’ spiritual.  (Mind you, I’m not referring to or concerned with anything that falls under the category of metaphysics.  I’m speaking exclusively about what God’s Word has to say about the matter.)  Romans 8:6 calls it being ‘spiritually-minded’ – or, having a mental disposition toward spiritual things – and it leads to life and peace.  Of course, in order to truly understand that statement, it becomes necessary to identify what spiritual things it’s referring to by answering the question, “Just what are spiritual things?”  And, somewhere in the vicinity of this area is probably where most of us get bogged down.

But, it actually isn’t very difficult to grasp at all.  In John 6:63, Jesus gives a very plain answer to this potentially puzzling concept of “spiritual things”: “The words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.”  The Lord’s words, His instructions to us, they are spiritual.  Simple, easy, cut-and-dried.  So how, then, can we be spiritually-minded, or walk in the Spirit?  How do we, the Body of Christ, become more spiritual?  By heeding what He says to us, by listening to and obeying His written Word and His voice by way of the Holy Spirit.

That’s it! If you want to be a spiritual person, do the things that are of the spiritual realm – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23).  Do righteousness, justice and compassion.  Do what God tells you to do and you’ll be spiritual – whether you have a ‘feeling’ from it or not – because His Word (His commandment to us, His leading, His instruction) is Spirit.  Listen, we don’t have to make it any more complicated or mysterious than that, because it isn’t.  Plus, as an extra side benefit, you’ll be blessed (James 1:22, 25).  What A bargain!


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5 Responses to “What does “Being Spiritual” really Mean?”

  1. Hi Lester! I’m so glad to be reading your blog again, it’s been quite a while! Thank you for this post that really nails down what being spiritual means. Sometimes I go through times of “feeling dry” and think I’m not being spiritual. Thank you for this reminder, that feelings are in the realm of the senses, and that we just need to stay in His Word to be in the Spirit. Blessings to you! Dee

    • Hey Dee

      Thanks for the welcome back…took some time away to redo my book and put together a publishing proposal. I think we all hit those skid trails from time to time…’feeling’ like Jesus isn’t very close to us at the moment. I’m glad the article hit the mark…it actually did for me while I was writing it lol. Nice to hear from you again!


  2. Hi Lester,
    I enjoyed this because it made me look at myself and check out the picture I have of myself. It took me back to some of the basic principles that spiritual people don’t look spiritual. They look just like everyday people, with every day problems that they are overcoming.
    Thanks for writing an excellent article and it is very good having you back.

    • Hi Pat,

      Thanks so much for the warm welcome back. Very glad you enjoyed the article…I’m kinda fond of this one myself lol…I think it can resonate with all Christians at some point or another. Nice to hear from you…



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