How do you describe true spirituality?

Good day Tejdor, how do you describe true spirituality?

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Thanks Bill for your question. In my article on ‘True Spirituality’, I mentioned that one needs to be truthful about oneself and one’s condition. We need to come to God just as we are, with all our brokenness and bankruptcy. “A broken and contrite heart, oh God! You will not despise,” says King David in Psalm 51. This is the opposite of spiritual hypocrisy, where we appear to be spiritual on the outside while our hearts and our innermost beings remain untouched and untransformed. We may worship God outwardly but are hearts are far away from Him and we used religion for our selfish gain, like those whom Jesus rebuked in the temple courts - ‘you have turned my house into a den of robbers’.

When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, he answered “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. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). In a nutshell, true spirituality is first and foremost a loving relationship with God, and out of that seminal relationship should follow our relationship with our fellow human beings. Relationship with God is expressed in our intimacy with, and worship of Him. Relationship with our fellow human beings is expressed in our respect of, and service to others.

In fact, ‘true spirituality’ is best summed up by Jesus’ sermon on the mount which, according to Mahatma Gandhi who was greatly influenced by its teaching, said “…the Sermon on the Mount was the whole of Christianity…”. The beatitude is a description not a prescription, and through these he described what ‘true spirituality’ looks like. Dallas Willard in his book ‘The Divine Conspiracy’ talking about the beatitude writes, “they are among the literary and religious treasures of the human race. Along with the Ten commandments, The Twenty-Third Psalm, the Lord’s Prayer, and a few passages from the Bible, they are acknowledged by everyone to be among the highest expressions of religious insight and moral inspiration. We can savor them, affirm them, meditate upon them, and engrave them on plaques to hang on our walls. But a major question remains: How are we to live in response to them?” Thus, true spirituality entails living out in our day to day life the ideals described by Jesus on that mountain a few thousand years ago.