We will all have our own ideas and imaginings of what a spiritual person is. You might immediately picture an eccentric looking person in colorful clothes, a typical depiction of a ‘spiritual person’ in various popular media. Or maybe you think of someone who’s job is connected to their faith, your church leader perhaps?
The truth is, we’re all spiritual people, whether we feel like it or not.
How does The Bible define a spiritual person?
Scripture is clear that we are made up of body, soul and spirit. We are triune beings.
“May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Spirit, soul and body: what’s the difference?
This is a huge subject and one that gets more interesting the more you read about it. To start off, think of it like this:
Your body is your flesh, skin, and bones. We know these bodies are made for this world and will be remade when the Kingdom of Heaven comes in its fullness.
Your spirit is, primarily, what connects you to God. It is a deep part of us.
Your soul is home to your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Neither body, spirit or soul is to be ignored and all three play an important part in our expression of our love for God.
For example, using our body in worship is a powerful act of glorifying God. In Psalm 103 we find many examples of commanding our souls to worship and bless God. There is an inherent understanding that it’s part of our faith to ensure that every part of our being, body, soul, and spirit, is submitted to God and worshipping Him.
How to become more spiritual
Our bodies are pretty hard to ignore; imagine trying to get through your day without noticing a broken leg. Our souls also make themselves known with emotions affecting how we physically feel and how we think. Just like a broken leg, a feeling of anger or joy is hard to ignore.
Our spirits however are a little more subtle and harder to pinpoint. As a result, it’s easy to go through life with a malnourished spirit when in fact, it’s our spirits we need to nourish and tune into.
Our spirits are able to connect to God and reveal His goodness and love to others. Proverbs 20, for example, describes the spirit as the ‘lamp of the Lord’. Romans 18 also talks about a ‘witnessing’ of the Holy Spirit to our spirit.
We need to cultivate a lifestyle that leaves us aware of our spiritual wellbeing and able to discern the difference between our souls and our spirits.
Remember, though, it’s not about one trumping the other. While our bodies are just flesh, we are still urged to use them to honor God. And while we’re told to command our souls, making sure we’re not led by emotions, we must still use every ounce of our feeling in our worship of God.
We must draw all three parts of ourselves, spirit, soul and body, into alignment with God and His plan for our life.
Nurturing your spirit
When was the last time you checked in with your spiritual wellbeing? Here are three simple ways to get you started:
1. Pay attention to your thought life
How peaceful is your thought life? Is the voice of fear and worry shouting louder than that of faith and trust in you?
Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. One of the results of living in abiding connection to Him is that your spirit is connected to His, leading to a tangible feeling of peace.
If your inner life is in turmoil, that’s one clue that you could do with booking in some spiritual self-care.
2. How are you sleeping?
Our days can be so busy that often it’s only when we settle down to sleep that we really register how we’re doing. Are you finding it harder to fall asleep than usual? Do you feel overwhelmed and wound up when you should be drifting off to sleep? Stressful days are unavoidable but as Christians we have an invitation to live life unburdened by worry and fear. We are also promised good, restful sleep.
So, if your nights are feeling less than restorative, take that as a sign that it’s time to check in with God.
3. How do you feel during worship?
Engaging in worship taps into our spirit like nothing else. As we worship we are connecting with one of the reason we were created, to glorify our Creator.
How do you feel in times of worship at the moment? Do you find it easy to engage or a real struggle? Do you find your attention drifting, or does it provoke upsetting thoughts and feelings?
Worship is incredibly revealing. It’s a vulnerable act that can often cut straight to the truth of how we’re doing and how much we’ve been nurturing our connection with God recently.
If you’re finding worship is triggering difficult emotions then, before you retreat, remember that no emotion is too big, too scary or too negative for God. Pour your heart into worship and let God lead you through to peace.
On the other hand, if you feel numb and distracted during times of worship, then try deliberately opening up how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking about to God. You can do this while you sing or maybe sit and write it down in a journal.
Healthy disciplines to nurture your spirit
What is a spiritual person? Well, we know that every one of us is spiritual. Just like making time for exercise, good sleep and connecting with friends to nurture our bodies and souls, we need to make time to nurture our spirit too.
Start every day with Jesus: You don’t have to go from 0-60 so don’t expect to be meditating for an hour every morning right away. To get started why not just say a simple ‘Good Morning’ to Jesus when you wake up. It might sound silly but simply acknowledging Him as you start your day is a powerfully positive thing to do.
Feed your spirit: Find ways to feed your spirit throughout the day. Swap you usual playlist for some worship and read a short portion of scripture (why not work through the Psalms, one at a time).
Stay thankful: There’s little better for us than staying grateful. Thankfulness is so good for us. It keeps us humble and hopeful while also reminding us of God’s goodness and His perspective on life. End every day by listing three things you’re thankful for.
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