Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Jan 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

Second Sunday After Epiphany

Bottom Line Spirituality: Worldly and Godly Thinking

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for The Second Sunday After Epiphany

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

1 Corinthians 12: 1Concerning Spiritual gifts

I have heard arguments over what the bible says. Sometimes there should be arguments about how the translators translate the Bible.  Their theology tends to show what they believe in their translation. The Scripture today illustrates this problem.

The translation in most Scriptures in 1 Corinthians 12:1, is “Concerning spiritual gifts”. In the old days, the King James translators would always put their own words in italics. Today they never seem to do that. The old translations would read, “concerning spiritual (gifts)”. To truly translate this passage without the adding of the word “gifts” it would be “concerning spirituals” or spirituality. Paul talks about gifts later, but for now he is speaking about spirituality.

His concern was he did “not want us to be uninformed (ignorant)” about spirituality. The problem in the Church today is our ignorance of spirituality. When we do not know something and we do not know we do not know it, we tend to think we know it. What the church does not seem to know is how to abide in Jesus.

I was talking to a spiritual director of a retreat center where I had led a conference. She listened to my sharing about consciously abiding in Jesus. She said that is what they do at their retreat center. We have people take a walk in the meadow. They begin to become aware of the Presence of God. The problem is that this is not how people abide in Jesus.

The thinking is, you have to take a walk, pray a prayer, take communion, go on a retreat, do a spiritual exercise to abide in Jesus. This just is not true. You can pray prayers, take walks, or communion, go on retreats or do spiritual exercises and you may or may not get into the Presence. 

When you ask someone how they get into the Presence, they tend to tell you what to do. They do not know the difference between a “what to do” and a “how to do” it.  It is the basic difference between grace and legalism. Legalism says we must do something to get into the Presence. Grace says we must get into the Presence to do something. The only way one gets into the Presence is through consciously opening their heart. The rational mind can never do it. If you do the exercises long enough they wear down the rational mind so the heart can be consciously opened.

One might say, “If you have to open your heart, you are doing something.”  You do something to open a Christmas gift. You received the gift and then did something, unwrapped it. You did not have to do something to get the gift. Otherwise it would not be a gift. It would be payment for your work.

To not be ignorant of spirituality means one must understand the difference between the “do to be” legalism and the “be to do” grace.  Jesus tells us, “apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 We need to learn how to consciously abide in Jesus before we try to do anything. In His Presence, we will have His Peace and the Wisdom of His Spirit that was poured into our hearts by His Father. Galatians 4:6

When was the last time you tried to do God’s will without abiding in Him? When was the last time you abided first, then did something? When you discover the difference, you are on your way to knowing how to abide in Him.


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