Religious Christianity and Spirituality: Can You Be Spiritual and Be a Christian?

Two categories of Christians I’ve observed recently are the faith-driven Christians and the spiritually aware Christians. These categories can be further expanded. For instance, you could be the religious type who adheres to every action based on some law or a judgmental approach to life in general, or you could be the spiritual type, simply going about your own activities and cautious of the sinful world around you, but highly drawn to spiritual activities. Alternatively, you could be just a regular person, enjoying life while believing in the finished work of Christ. We’ve all seen people like these, and it makes you wonder: “Can you be Christian and still be spiritual?”

Here’s the hard truth: you cannot separate spirituality from Christianity. For your information, Peter spent time with Jesus and could say, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'” Isaiah also added that even if we are holy, “religiously” or “highly spiritual,” our righteousness is as filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). He is literally saying that, no matter how hard we try, the best of us cannot grasp the least of God’s righteousness. The flesh is the limiting factor.

There are individuals who believe that simply believing in God or Jesus automatically guarantees a ticket to heaven. However, this is not entirely accurate. While faith in God can be a crucial step, it is essential to maintain that faith through daily commitment to avoid it expiring (Romans 12:2). So, how is spirituality related to one’s belief or faith in God? Should one strive to be a spiritual Christian or simply a regular church-going Christian? Let’s explore this topic in more detail below.

Can You Be Christian and Not Be Spiritual?

To be Christ-like is an incredible thing. Paul says that if I choose to live, I must identify with, resemble, and emulate Christ. If I do not do so, then death is better because it is no longer I who live. Well then, Brother Paul, you do not have a life. How can you say that in a time like this? You must be highly spiritual. You sound like those Pharisees and Sadducees already. As a matter of fact, that’s just passion talking; nothing more.

You cannot be a Christian without being a passionate one. Spirituality is not just a symbolic act, but a reflection of the passion you have for God. It is not a seat of judgment or a show-off. Jesus loved and still loves sinners, but not their sin. He identified with them, drank and dined with them, but when it came near its elastic limit, he was off! Even the sinners themselves marveled, “Who could this be? He’s got the flow, but controls the flow.” This was something the Pharisees and Sadducees never had.

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They believed in “I am holy, you are not. I am the master, you are a bunch of unclean slaves.” Jesus addressed this mentality in Matthew 20:26. I hear him say, “You can be spiritual and a faith-filled Christian, but you must also be passionate about it.”

  • Jesus is the son of God and the son of man – John 3:16; Matthew 20:28
  • Jesus Identified with sinners but knew no sin – 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Jesus was spiritual – Acts 10:38
  • Jesus was a fun to be with person who told lots of stories – John 21:25
  • Jesus never claimed to be God for God was with him. – John 14:10
  • Jesus became the Christ – Matthew 16:16
  • Jesus hated sinful acts – Matthew 21:12-13
  • Jesus’ purpose was spiritual – John 10:10
  • Jesus was a servant – Mark 10:45
  • Jesus is King!John 18:36-37

Faith in God and our Spirituality?

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6

Spirituality is closely tied to our belief and faith in God. The book of Hebrews instructs us to first believe and have faith. So, how do we achieve this? By repeatedly hearing and accepting the word of God. This is our spiritual ticket, as the next phrase states that God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Spirituality is not dismissive of the person but of sin. Let me give you an illustration. If you come to my house with a heap of sand and dump it in my sitting room, you and I will have a serious problem. But if you come to my house with a heap of sand, I have a problem with the sand because I know the damage it can cause, but not with you. I’ll joke with you outside, and even help you unload the heap outside. Then I can invite you inside. It doesn’t spoil our relationship. God is not asking us to be spiritual landlords but spiritual caretakers of his vineyard.

A Spiritual or Lukewarm Christian?

John tells us about a revelation of Jesus he encountered (Revelation 3:15-18). In this revelation, Jesus gives a warning to the so-called “lukewarm Christian.”

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot! So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

What Jesus is actually saying, in essence, is that He is finding it hard to identify the lukewarm Christian. He cannot quantify them or understand their taste. Are they here or there? A lukewarm Christian has no identity. One minute they are all churchy, and the next minute, they are clubbing. Perhaps if they were a club person, Jesus could win them over, and if they were churchy, He could win some souls. But now, they have got Him confused.

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Remember, we said that a spiritual Christian is one who is passionate about the things of God. Can we now say that the lukewarm Christian is actually the Christian or the spiritual Christian? I’ll let you answer that yourself.

Is a Church-Going Christian Spiritual?

Being a church-going Christian does not necessarily make one spiritual. One can attend church regularly without having a deep spiritual connection with God. Spirituality is about having a personal relationship with God and living a life of passion and commitment to Him. It is not about judging others but about recognizing and avoiding sin. It is not about being a church-going Christian but about having a deep spiritual connection with God.

Being Churchy does not make you spiritual. You can attend church regularly without having a personal relationship with God. It is about the heart, not the attendance.

Is Spirituality the Same as Being Religious?

Spirituality and religion are distinct. While both involve a connection with something higher, spirituality is a personal and subjective experience, whereas religion is often institutionalized and dogmatic. Spirituality is about having a personal relationship with God, whereas religion is about following a set of rules and practices.

To illustrate the difference, consider the following table:

FocusPersonal relationship with GodFollowing rules and practices
ExperienceSubjective and personalInstitutionalized and dogmatic
PurposeDeepening connection with GodFollowing a set of rules

10 Qualities of a Spiritual Christian from the Bible

As we strive to live a life that honors God, it is essential to understand the qualities that define a spiritual Christian. These qualities are rooted in the Bible and are essential for our spiritual growth and maturity. Here are 10 qualities of a spiritual Christian, along with relevant Bible verses:

1. Godliness

Godliness is the inclination toward godly things. It is essential for a spiritual Christian to cultivate a life that is pleasing to God. “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5)

2. Humility

Humility is the opposite of pride and is a vital quality for a spiritual Christian. It involves recognizing our limitations and dependence on God. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

3. Prayerfulness

Prayerfulness is a fundamental aspect of a spiritual Christian’s life. It involves communicating with God and seeking His guidance and wisdom. “And this is the confidence that we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14)

4. Spirituality

Spirituality involves a deep connection with God and a commitment to living according to His will. “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)

5. Perseverance

Perseverance is essential for a spiritual Christian, as it involves enduring trials and challenges with faith and hope. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)

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6. Compassion

Compassion involves showing love and care for others, just as God shows love and care for us. “But whoever has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17)

7. Contentment

Contentment involves being satisfied with what God has provided and not coveting what belongs to others. “And if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (1 Timothy 6:8)

8. Self-control

Self-control involves restraining our impulses and desires and living according to God’s will. “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

9. Responsibility

Responsibility involves taking ownership of our actions and being accountable to God and others. “So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)

10. Reverence

Reverence involves having a deep respect for God and recognizing His sovereignty over our lives. “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.” (Proverbs 23:17)

These 10 qualities are essential for a spiritual Christian, and they are rooted in the Bible. By cultivating these qualities, we can grow in our faith and live a life that honors God.

Bottom Line on Spirituality

Spirituality is about having a personal relationship with God and living a life of passion and commitment to him. It is not about judging people but about recognizing and avoiding sin. It is not about being a church-going Christian but about having a deep spiritual connection with God.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, spirituality is a personal and subjective experience that involves a deep connection with God. It is not the same as being religious, which often involves following a set of rules and practices. As Christians, we should strive to cultivate a spiritual life that is characterized by a personal relationship with God and a commitment to living out our faith in a way that honors Him.

Take time to reflect on your relationship with God and assess whether you are living a spiritual life. Ask yourself if you are following God’s guidance and living according to His will. Make a commitment to deepen your spiritual connection with God and live out your faith in a way that honors Him.

  • Hebrews 11:6 – “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
  • Matthew 22:37-40 – “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
  • John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”

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