I grew up in a fairly strict religious system that had a lot of rules about what we should and should not do. It was easy to wrongly conclude in that kind of system that simply following a checklist of religious activities led to true spiritually. Somewhere along the way I came to more fully understand the gospel of grace. Grace is not a license to sin, but it is a deeper understanding that inner spirituality is not the automatic byproduct of following a certain list of behaviors. Real spirituality must flow from the heart.
But if we want to use a checklist as a tool, how do we find one that is more conducive to spirituality instead of just ritual? I adapted the following list from a conversation with a friend from Canada. Perhaps they will be helpful for others to consider.
1. Regular daily personal Bible reading and prayer - it really does not matter what system one uses, just use it regularly and daily.
2. Regular participation in weekly corporate bible study and worship - it really does not matter what style of church one goes to, so long as it is biblically based and has Christ-centered worship. Just participate weekly in a corporate gathering for worship and Bible study.
3. At least one intentional gospel conversation with a non-Christian each week - Do not let life get so busy that we neglect to try to share our faith. We may not get through a whole gospel presentation in any given week, but we can make an intentional effort. God will do the rest.
4. At least one intentional act of service to other believers each week that utilizing our spiritual gifts - God has gifted each of us with certain spiritual gifts when we came to know Him. Those gifts must be used to build up His church. We should develop and use that gift to serve and not simply expect to be served.
5. At least one intentional act of service to non-Christians each week with the goal being to have more intentional gospel conversations - in an increasingly post-Christian world we are going to have to "earn the right" to have a gospel conversation with our friends. One way to do that is to think of ways to serve non-believers on a regular basis for the purpose of relationship building. Then when the relationship is strong, the conversation will happen.
Though this list dos not guarantee practitioners will be deeply spiritual, it is hard to do on a regular basis unless it flows from spiritual hearts. Try is for three months and see if it works for you.
What ideas do you have to help inspire deeper spirituality? Feel free to post them in the comments below.