Many people use the term “spiritual” to describe their approach to faith. This is a very general way of pointing to all those things that calms one’s spirit and gives one a sense of serenity. In a generic way, it is about how we ground ourselves. In his book The Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard says that “a ‘spiritual life’ consists in that range of activities in which people cooperatively interact with God.” I do not like to think of our spiritual lives as separate from our business and relational lives, but he raises an important point. Spirituality is about interacting with God. Willard goes on to say that this is distinct from making a commitment to God or trying to change one’s lifestyle. It is intentionally undertaking activities that open us to God’s Spirit and allow us to be shaped by the presence and purposes of God. Through these activities our resolve, energy, and the quality of our existence are renewed and expanded.
This is something we do not talk about much, but it can be overlooked for only so long. We have so focused on what we are to believe about God that we gloss over those things that connect us to God. This is especially true of how we approach the central figure of our faith: Jesus. Somewhere along the way we became so fixated on “Jesus is the Way” that we forgot about the way of Jesus. The Gospels are filled with more than the teachings of Jesus. They also contain the pattern of his life that points us to those activities in which we interact with God. The next time you are reading one of the Gospels, take note not only of what Jesus taught but also how he lived. His profound moments of teaching are punctuated by moments of prayer and solitude. And if we too punctuate our lives with activities such as these, we open ourselves to new ways of being.