Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Difference Between Being Emotional and Being Spiritual

Colossians 2:8-10 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

It is common today for people to say they are spiritual but not religious. Most often what people mean when they say this is that they feel a connection to something spiritual without engaging in any specific religious activity.

I've had several great conversations with people who put themselves in this category. One young man said that when he looks at a lovely scenic view it moves him far more emotionally than sitting in a dry church service. One middle aged lady told me that when she sees a well designed garden, she feels more peaceful than when she is listening to a sermon. An older couple shared how it makes them feel happy when they engage in a good deed, and since they volunteer a lot at various community organizations, they are happy most of the time. Therefore, they don't see the need to go to church to find happiness. This sense of being spiritual, but not religious, is one of the prevailing philosophies in our post-Christian culture. It is one of many factors leading to the decline in church attendance and formal church affiliation.

This is a challenging issue to work through. After all, people need to enjoy scenic views, well designed gardens and do good deeds. All of these things have intrinsic value in our lives and can help us find emotional well being. But such activities do not necessarily make a person spiritual. There is a difference between being emotional and being spiritual. Emotions are important, and finding activities that help us experience positive emotions are worth seeking out. I sure have had days that were so stressful that sitting in a garden and gaining a sense of peace, was exactly what I needed on that day. But that is not the same thing as connected to God, who is the ultimate author of peace and has the spiritual power to actually change the situation. Knowing Christ brings a deeper level of peace and a deeper sense of happiness than any garden or scenic view ever could. And more importantly, having a connection to Christ helps us deal with issues and not just temporarily cover them up with an emotional high.

So enjoy a scenic view, but also get to know the One who made the view.

Lord, help us remember that we need You in our lives more than anything else. Amen.

Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

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