The Key to Living the Spiritual Life

Most of my life I have associated with churches where emphasis was exclusively on believing in Christ and then bringing others to believe in Him too. Toeing the line of correct doctrine was essential.   Salvation by grace through faith was of central importance.  And I still believe it is. 

But by believing I have arrived because I assent to the truth that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that I am ready for the next step of heaven doesn’t mean that I will live the life of faith that God desires for me.  I look around and see plenty of dull, sluggish, and indifferent Christians who “live a life that is still half animal and who barely put up a struggle to keep the breath of grace alive in their souls” (Thomas Merton).  Too many seem to live as if being a Christian just doesn’t work for them, not looking any different than the rest of the world.  And then I have to wonder if that is me and what kind of life I am missing.

For years I thought that the Christian life after salvation was a life of service and good works as a natural expression of faith in Christ – a matter of duty that honored God, even if you didn’t feel much like doing it. This was the Christian life until I died.  Oh, but there is so much more between being born again and dying…

While reading about the faith of great Christians from a variety of Protestant denominations as well as Catholic, and even before there were such divisions, I am awed at the breadth and depth of their spirituality.  I discovered they all really have one thing in common, besides being Christ followers.  They lived lives of continual seeking.

C.S. Lewis wrote that doctrines are not God; they are only a kind of map.  The Christian life is a seeking life, a life of movement, not a statement.  It is not the extraction of data and knowledge from the Bible but is listening to and experiencing God’s words.  

A seeker desires more grace, more life, and more love that fills us and overflows, spilling on those encountered.  It is expressed more through the doctrine of love than the love for doctrine.  But it’s not a life without doctrine. The richness of theology grows as it is experienced.

Am I a seeker? The older I get, the greater my appetite for more of Christ, more holiness, more living in a moment-by-moment effort to follow His will and think His thoughts.  Thinking His thoughts means knowing His Word – meditating on it, memorizing it, talking it through with Him.  The more I feed this hunger, the more it grows and paradoxically the more satisfaction I find.

Once in a while, He gives clarity, insight, and truth over a span of time, and through it increases my ability to live the life of faith and love while growing in understanding of His character – a character to which I want to be conformed because I know that in that conforming is the ultimate joy, love, and peace, living life on a higher plane where circumstances cannot threaten me.

The seeking life is a life of continuous inner conversation with God.  Although I wish I could be more consistent, I find that when I keep Him constant before my mind, listening and acting as He moves my heart, I am more able to empty myself and be filled by the Spirit. Then I can see His working in the world around me, the real presence of Jesus in real people.  He opens my eyes so that what was cloudy and opaque becomes clear and beautiful.  When I begin to see what is ordinarily hidden in the world and His Word, I grow in deeper awareness of His beauty and love.  The rare moments when I get a glimpse from his perspective and see how things really are moments of grace that fill me with complete awe. 

There is no greater gift than sensing His immediate presence.  More…I want more…I seek more...more of His fire burning in my life, a supernatural kind of life ready to sacrifice it all for the treasure of Christ. 

A seeker – this is what it means to be a disciple - seeking the treasure of Christ and being gradually transformed by the process. 

Linking up with: A Pause on the Path

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