When Enough Isn’t Enough: How Over-Spiritualizing Can Hurt You

by | Aug 31, 2017 | Woman

God is always enough. He has all the answers. There is no higher calling in life than to know Him, love Him and follow Him. But in serving Him there are plenty of times when prayer and Bible study are not enough.

We as human beings too easily put things in boxes. We either over-spiritualize every aspect of our lives or separate (perhaps unconsciously) the earthly and heavenly parts of our existence. Some people believe they’re serving God more than adequately if they spend an hour or two in church each week and a few minutes a day in personal or family devotions. And other people may devote hours each day to prayer and Bible study while their marriage, children, bank account, friendships, mental and physical health, work and home go unattended.

God made you and me as integrated, whole human beings. You cannot separate your physical, emotional, relational and spiritual parts from one another anymore than you can separate the flour, sugar, eggs and salt from a loaf of bread. What impacts one area of your life impacts all the other areas. Every dimension of our lives needs adequate tending and nourishment for us to be our best and serve God with our whole being.

Failure to understand this has often led to serious problems for believers:

  • The person with diabetes or severe depression who refuses professional help while praying for healing
  • The seminary student preparing to be a pastor and seriously addicted to pornography
  • The wife spending hours alone reading the Bible while her husband starves for intimacy
  • The Christian leader whose ministry is cut short through the health effects of obesity
  • Believers frustrated when urgent matters (such as helping those affected by Hurricane Harvey) “interfere” with their spiritual pursuits.

While the greatest miracle of all is the salvation and restoration of a human soul, most of Jesus’ earthly miracles were focused on very earthly things—food, storms, physical illness. God is equally concerned about and invested in every dimension of our lives.

Here are three dimensions where we must be careful to not over-spiritualize.

1. Our Personal Nourishment

Spending all day every day in prayer and Bible study would leave you unbalanced and relatively useless to God or anyone else. That may sound strong, but it’s true. Prayer and Bible study are vital soul nourishment, but God didn’t create human beings to only do that.

Think of it this way. You eat food and drink water every day. You hopefully place greatest value on the spiritual nourishment you get from God’s Word, but that doesn’t stop you from sitting down to a meal. Periods of fasting can be vital spiritually, but refraining from food indefinitely will end your life far too soon. It’s the same with the other nourishment we need. Although there’s no limit to the value of prayer and Bible study, we also must take into our being the necessary nourishment for our body and mind.

That nourishment may include such things as inspiring biographies, educational media, fun with friends, time resting, non-spiritual books or wholesome entertainment. Jesus demonstrated this well. He did not spend all His time in “spirituality.” He walked, talked, ate, wept, laughed and slept. He told stories about real-life situations the people around Him understood. He was a very human being, as much a man as He was God—something we too often forget.

2. Our Individual Development

Your learning must include God’s Word first and most. But it also must include stretching your mind and skills in other dimensions if you want to be as useful as possible for God’s kingdom. That is likely to include learning how to care for your body, new ways of thinking and behaving to replace old negative baggage, skills in leadership, finance, the arts, or business, healthy parenting and the emotional intelligence necessary for marriage and interacting with all other people.

While God’s Word informs all those dimensions, God never intended the Bible to be our only source of learning exclusive of every other avenue. While we must have a biblical foundation to filter other information through, God has provided many other sources as well.

We learn through observing God’s creation in nature, scientific investigation and discovery, watching how people behave, respond and learn, and many other ways. While God’s word must form the foundation, actively seeking out other sources of learning will both enrich your life and dramatically increase your value and usefulness for God’s kingdom.

3. Our Spiritual Service

We can easily inappropriately elevate “church work” to a higher standard than pursuits more directly related to this earth. Yet remember how Jesus and His followers clearly demonstrated that all we do is service to God. “If a brother or sister is naked and lacking daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” and yet you give them nothing that the body needs, what does it profit?” (James 2:15-16).

You are serving God just as much when you are changing diapers, writing a report for your boss, grocery shopping, mowing the lawn or having a time of intimacy with your spouse as when you are praying or reading the Bible. I was serving God just as much when I adjusted my husband’s oxygen or took him to his doctor’s appointments as when I am now writing and speaking.

“Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Seeing every aspect of your life as spiritual service can sanctify everything you do.

When you care for your mind and body, you’re doing it in order to have your best self available for all God wants you to do. When you are studying, learning or getting refreshed, you’re investing in the tools God needs you to have for any other service. When you are doing practical things to care for your spouse, child or friend you are doing it as unto Jesus. When you make money, create something beautiful or enlightening, choose a useful job or career or “whatever you do,” choose to see it as for the glory of God.

While prayer and Bible study are important, don’t judge your own or someone else’s spirituality primarily by that. Are you tending to the body and mind God entrusted to you? Are you serving the people closest to you best? Are you seeing everything you do as service to God?

Your Turn: Have you been over-spiritualizing some aspect of your life? Is there some of the “whatever you do” that you need to more clearly offer as spiritual service? Leave a comment below. {eoa}

 Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley is both a board-certified OB-GYN physician and an ordained doctor of ministry. As an author and speaker, she loves helping people discover the Fully Alive kind of life that Jesus came to bring us. Visit her website at drcarolministries.com.

This article originally appeared at drcarolministries.com.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Kingdom Economics: How Godly Traditions Convey Kingdom Truths

Kingdom Economics: How Godly Traditions Convey Kingdom Truths

Read Time: 3 Minutes 53 Seconds WalletHub estimates 97% of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and were expected to spend $835 million on Thanksgiving turkeys for last week’s holiday. More than 50 million people were expected to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on...

The Hidden Antisemitism of Misappropriation of Scripture

The Hidden Antisemitism of Misappropriation of Scripture

Read Time: 4 Minutes 49 Seconds I know that what I am writing in my blog today will cause some people discomfort. Others will become angry and still others will choose to stop reading my blogs and articles. Yet, knowing that there is a danger of the above happening,...

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven? Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are...

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

This month we are entering a season which, in the United States, has been devoted to gratitude and thanksgiving for 400 years! While the Thanksgiving holiday has had a long and varied history within the United States, the practice of devoting sacrificial offerings,...

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

My frequent trips to developing nations always help me adjust my attitude. Just when I start to feel spoiled and entitled, I meet people from places like Congo, India and Honduras—and I realize just how blessed I am. This happened to me again last week during a trip...

The Power of Being Thankful

The Power of Being Thankful

One of the best ways to show God we love Him is to be thankful. When we express our deep gratitude to Him, it actually invites His presence onto our lives. Being thankful also neutralizes the enemy and brings victory into our situations no matter what the outcome....

Get Off Your Pew!

Get Off Your Pew!

As God’s clock inches closer to the final hour before His return, many people find themselves filled with angst, anxiety and despair. People are not sleeping well, many have fallen into depression and are feeling hopeless. These are the very days that we have been...

RECENT ARTICLES

ORU’s President Dr. Billy Wilson Shares Strategy to Reach 8 Billion for Christ

Read Time: 2 minutes 26 seconds The world population just surpassed 8 billion people and a group of emboldened followers of Jesus have set on a mission to reach the world with the message of...
The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

Read Time: 4 Minutes 28 Seconds While all of the stories we read in the Torah are meaningful, sometimes the events we read about can seem to hold more relevance, especially for those of us who are followers of Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah. One such event is the calling...

The Church’s Role in Preserving Freedom of Speech in America

The Church’s Role in Preserving Freedom of Speech in America

Read Time: 3 Minutes 17 Seconds The controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving and his post of a tweet that claims the Jews in Israel are not the real Jews—that Black Africans are the real Jews—raises serious questions about free speech in America and has ramifications for...

Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Read Time: 4 Minutes 42 Seconds Thanksgiving Day is just a few days away for U.S. Americans. It is a favorite holiday—perhaps only exceeded by Christmas—to gather with family and friends to watch parades, play (American) “football” and eat delicious food—often from...

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFbfS03JkKY&t=1s Read Time: 3 Minutes, 10 Seconds Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are murderers, pedophiles and cannibals walking along the streets of gold? We are taught in the book of Romans, "That if...

Pin It on Pinterest