In contemporary society, Christian spirituality is generally defined as a set of beliefs, values, and way of life that reflect the teachings of the Bible, the holy book of Christianity. Much research has been devoted to this topic, ranging from practical to academic. But what does the Bible teach on this issue?
First, Christian spirituality is biblically defined as the practice of the beliefs of the Christian faith. It includes both knowledge and action. James 1:25 notes, for example, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” From the earliest writings of the New Testament, the principle of integrated and authentic faith and action has been taught as essential to Christian spirituality.
Second, Christian spirituality relies on the power of the Holy Spirit to live according to God’s will. The Holy Spirit serves to lead us into all truth (John 16:13), gives joy (Ephesians 5:18), and convicts when we sin (Ephesians 4:30). For example, 1 John 1:5-8 teaches, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” True spirituality depends on the supernatural power God gives through the Holy Spirit rather than dependence on human strength.
Third, Christian spirituality is concerned for all of a person’s life. Rather than separating spiritual, physical, financial, social, and other life components into distinct areas, Christian spirituality is concerned with how all of life connects to our relationship with God. For example, the use of our finances reflects the attitude of our heart (Matthew 6:21). How we treat our body reflects our spiritual life in important ways (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Finally, the pursuit of Christian spirituality will result in what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). When a believer lives by the power of God’s Spirit, it produces godly qualities as well as brings honor to God. As Jesus taught, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Seen from this perspective, Christian spirituality is for the honor of God, personal maturity, and serves as a blessing to others, both through the good deeds that take place as well as a heart attitude that points others to God.