“Be no longer children,” wrote the Apostle Paul, “but grow up in Christ” (Eph. 4:15). All my spiritual life…for as long as I can remember…religious people have sincerely, but mistakenly, exhorted me to “grow up in Christ.” It sounded reasonable. And, they were quoting Saint Paul. But what did most of these religious people really mean? What did “growing up in Christ” actually mean to them? I suspect for most of them, it meant…
- Go to church every Sunday and, if you are a really mature Christian, you will show up on Wednesday night, too, the weekly gathering of a faithful few to exchange the latest gossip about who was ill and infirm or facing unimaginable setbacks and adorn that gossip with a few Gospel prayers.
- Spirituality meant reading the Bible every day. So, I remember many New Year’s Resolutions to read the Bible from cover to cover in a year’s time, thinking that, if I read the Bible every day, I would be taking a dose of high-powered spiritual vitamins that would protect me from the evil little amoebas that go about to and fro on the earth looking for weak followers to devour.
- Furthermore, I understood “growing up in Christ” to mean that I had to rigorously seek to be spiritual every day. Pray…be good…work hard at thinking pure thoughts, instead of the one’s I was usually thinking – thoughts of pretty girls and parties and…well…you know…the thoughts you think, too, as an adolescent. It was all so depressingly difficult…almost always a total disaster and, as I look back on it now from an entirely different perspective, completely misguided, misinformed, and just plain wrong.
Here, my friend, is the real spiritual truth.
- You are spiritual already. There is nothing…I repeat…nothing you must do in order to be spiritual. If spiritual is not who you are, then what was the point of Christ’s appearance on earth? Christ has demonstrated, and accomplished, in his own life, death, and resurrection the realization that, in God, we are everything already. That’s the point of Jesus’ appearing. If all his coming was meant to do was to suffer some kind of Divine punishment so you and I could go to heaven when we die, then, my friend, you and I in all candidness have missed the point entirely.
- Spirituality, or growing in Christ, is nothing more than the progressive realization of who you are already.
And, who are you? A spiritual being who is progressively waking up to the realization that you and God are one. You cannot “get more of God” by flexing spiritual muscles. You and God are complete already. You have arrived already at that place you’ve been told you have to work in order to achieve. You have all of God there is and God has all of you that there is. Daily, therefore, you practice God-realization, God-awareness. That’s what it means to be spiritual. Nothing more. Nothing less. That’s all. It really IS that simple. And, it’s supposed to be this simple. It is RELIGION, my friends, that complicates it. Which is precisely why Saint Paul said “The cross is offensive to many” even a “stumbling block” (1 Cor. 1:23). It is mostly a stumbling block to religious people. Which is why they are always adding more to it…adding things you have to do in order to be. Do not believe it, my friends. That is actually the greatest heresy in the church today. That you and I must add more to what Christ has clearly accomplished in his own life, death, and resurrection. There is NOTHING YOU COULD ever do to be more who you are. Live from that place of who you are. This IS not only the beginning of wisdom, it is freedom. It is salvation, the Bible’s way.