This page linked from Pharisees vs. Anointing
Spirituality Vs. Religion
By Jeff Dull
I have read and heard many definitions
of spirituality, and most of them are one sided, indicating that it can
a Christian experience. I disagree with
this concept, because as I read the Bible, God made man in His image and
God is Spirit. I also see man as a spirit,
soul, and body, with the expression of the spirit as the ultimate form
expression called spirituality. That is
to say that ones spirituality will be the expression of what ever is a
standard for living and dying, or what
ever is number one in a persons life at any one time in a persons life.
believe that there are only two kinds
of spirituality, positive and negative, with Christian based spirituality
positive and all others as negative spirituality.
After all, Satan is also spirit, and we are in spiritual warfare as
described in Ephesians. In my opinion,
if there is a war going on, then there must be at least two contending
spirits, and the expression of a particular
spirit would be called spirituality. Add to that the fact that God designed
us to live forever, and on the final judgment
day we will find out where we will live forever, in heaven or the lake
fire according to our spirit and spirituality.
Here is my analogy as to how I see it.
I use what I call the carbon analogy to
describe mankind. When I read Genesis, I see God as creating a pure white
sparkling piece of carbon, a diamond with
a pure and clean spirit absorbing the light of God and reflecting God's
brilliance all around. Then comes the
fall... man sins, his spirit dies, and he becomes a piece of dead carbon,
hard black piece of anthracite coal, which
can no longer absorb God's light but only produce a surface reflection
one direction. Every person born after
the fall is born as a piece of anthracite coal, spiritually hard and black.
matter how smooth and shiney a person
may try to become through right living and doing good things, they are
and always will be dead carbon, a hard
black piece of anthracite coal fit only for the fire. When a person accepts
Christ as Savior and Lord, their spirit
is once again made alive and they once again become a diamond (albeit a
diamond in the rough) and able to absorb
and internally reflect God's light. Because there is still sin in our lives
never do attain that original purity and
brilliance that Adam and Eve had back in the beginning. We are all
diamonds in the rough. Some of us are
yellow, flawed, and even uncut, but still a diamond, and saved by grace.
we mature and become more dependent on
Christ, and we trust and obey more fully, God the diamond cutter
refacets us, removes the flaws and yellowing,
and restores the brilliance. However, two problems still remain. First,
we are still carbon units, and it is not
until Christ returns that we shuck this carbon suit and get transfigured
becoming what God intended all along.
Secondly, enduring God's cutting process of becoming spiritual and mature
is a very painful one and can only be
done at our consent. All to often we stop the process and return to religiosity.
In this analogy I have presented two spirits,
one white, and one black, both of which result in an expression of
spirituality in worship called religion.
I also want to point out that the condition and color of the spirit has
relationship to the color of a persons
skin. I point this out, because it has been my experience that people do
equate the two as one and use it consciously
or unconsciously as one of the underpinnings of racial prejudice and
bigotry. Back to the two types of spirits.
When man uses society, science, nature, knowledge, or himself as
standard he is a black spirit and can
only produce a surface reflection in that direction. The Bible is also
any standard other than God's standard,
Christ Jesus, is idolatry and a lie, and one with the father of lies, Satan.
Negative spirituality results in the worst
type of religion, and the worst type of religious expression, the legalism,
hypocrisy, ritualism, and the priestcraft
the Pharisees. This type of negative spirituality and religious expression
produces a black spirit, a tormented soul,
and a tired body. For me the acid test is that Satan, sin, and any other
standard other then Christ never delivers
what it promises. The results are alienation from God, abortion, broken
families, child and spouse abuse, addictions,
broken dreams, and eternal separation from God. I believe that the
"American Dream" has become obsessive
and become an idol which cannot deliver what it promises, and that the
pursuit and or fulfillment of it in and
of itself is emptiness and vanity. When a man has Christ as his Savior
Standard, he has an internal reflection
of God's light returning to God and himself, as well as reaching out to
society, science, nature, knowledge, and
all others too. Becoming one with Christ is becoming one with the truth,
and Christ always delivers what He promises.
The positive spirituality produces a bright, clear, and glowing spirit,
a peaceful soul, and a rejuvenated body.
The results are healthy relationships with God, self, family, and others.
The "American Dream" achieved as a result
of this spirituality then becomes a by product, and is in proper
perspective in value and worth as a gift
of God's Grace, and not something deserved due to self righteous
achievement. As I indicated earlier, we
are not pure white diamonds as Adam and Eve were before the fall. We are
flawed, so the expression of our worship
and religion is flawed and tainted with Pharisees too. The title of this
article contains the word versus in it.
The word versus indicates conflict and contention, and rightly so, because
we do battle the tendency of religion
becoming an idol. It was the same for Israel. When the Jews were about
enter the promised land, God said to them,
when you sin, not if you sin, to seek again God's face and confess the
sin and receive healing and forgiveness.
So when I hear most people speak about spirituality versus religion , what
they really mean is positive spirituality
versus religion. To close this article I would like to present to you a
written by an unknown Baptist chaplain
about this subject. I stated in the last journal that once I learned the
difference between religion and spirituality
that my whole life changed and I was able to really see and understand
for the first time. This is the paper
that initiated that change as I asked the Holy Spirit to show me its meaning
me in my life.
RELIGION VERSUS SPIRITUALITY
Much time and
effort is spent clarifying the difference between religion and positive
spirituality. So this
paper is written
to specifically clarify the inequality between the two.
Religion is knowledge
about God while Spirituality is knowing God. Religion satisfies the mind
satisfies the soul.
on its best manners, clothes and face on Sundays or whenever certain people
behaves itself everyday and everywhere, even when alone.
Religion is working
as hard as we can for God. Spirituality is God working as hard as He can
in us after
we have made
our decision to turn our will and life over to His care.
cause a person to be found in church - everyday, if necessary. Spirituality
will cause the
of Christ") to be found in the person - everyday, as necessary. Religion
will make us do
a lot of things
we really do not want to do. Spirituality will make us do only what we
should do, because
the desire is
in our heart.
make a certain set of "good habits" form us. Spirituality will cause us
to form "good
habits." A person
works on their religion. Spirituality works on us. Religion will cause
us to do good. Spirituality
causes us to be good AND to do good as well.
Religion can make
us look good to others, while Spirituality makes us look good to God. Religion
showing "love, joy, peace..." (Galations 5:22-23). Spirituality is concerned
joy, peace...," then one will automatically produce these positive attributes.
us more pleased with ourselves than with God. Spirituality makes us pleased
and never completely
pleased with ourselves.
the human is the dominant entity. With Spirituality the Creator is all
in all. Religion is
powered by the
love of self. Spirituality is powered by the love of God. Religion will
allow a person to
feed the poor
but hate their neighbor. Spirituality will cause us to love everybody.
(1 Corinthians 13:3)
a person to worry about how people are treating them. Spirituality, however,
to be concerned
about how we are treating people. Religion will make us "feel" like we
earn and even
Spirituality will make us know that it is "But for the Grace of God" (gift).
Religion may sometimes
make people "sick" of another person. Spirituality will make us sick of
will see the beauty of the Godly life and desire it. Spirituality attracts.
what we - since
times beginning - have been offering to God. Spirituality is what God -
beginning - has
been trying to offer to us. This, then, is the chief difference between
the two: Religion
arises from the
earth; Spirituality comes down from Heaven.
To get religion,
you must give up certain "things!" To get Spirituality, which is the free
gift of God's
Grace, you give
up EVERYTHING out of love.
Religion by no
means is all negative, but it sometimes gets in the way of Spirituality
God. As a spa or gym is to an individual who has decided to become more
so is religion to one who wants to exercise spirituality.
I understand God
in the traditional Christian concept of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the
God which is
unconditional love or "God's Love" (Agape). For me, Christianity is not
only a "Religion"
but a relationship"
with Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Therefore, the difference between
is only non-existent in Christianity, when Christ is the focus of attention.
Copyright 1996 Jeff Dull Christian Underground
January 10, 1997 by Jeff Dull, reprinted
here with permission after Christian Underground Journal webpage was taken
off-line in 1998.