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The War Without and the War Within—Part 2 (Galatians 5:13-26)

Introduction

I hope all of us have spiritual mentors. One of the men who has had a profound impact on my spiritual life is J. I. Packer. I have been deeply enriched by his writings over the years. He has recently published a new book entitled, Keep in Step With the Spirit. It is one of the finest books on the spiritual life I have ever read, and I want to encourage you to read it. The title is borrowed from Galatians 5:25, “And if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” J. I. Packer has an uncanny sensitivity to criticize his own theological position. He perceives a lack of devotion among those of his own doctrinal persuasion; however he is not blind to the weakness of doctrine that is often found among those who show great devotion. J. I. Packer’s writings have been heavily influenced by his own spiritual mentor, John Owen. Multnomah Press has republished this Puritan writer’s work entitled, Sin & Temptation. It is one of the most profound books I have read on this subject. If you are serious about the spiritual life, I urge you to read it, not as a substitute for Bible study, but to help you gain insight and perspective into many of the biblical passages.

In this message I will address the subject of the spiritual life. The nature of such a study demands topical exposition for two reasons: (1) In the Book of Galatians, Paul approaches the subject with tunnel vision since he reviews the spiritual life in light of the Galatian perversions; and (2) Many other passages in the New Testament address the topic of the spiritual life and give added insight to their subject.

The subject of the spiritual life is very crucial. I want you to understand the critical importance of this subject since the greatest conflict in the life of every Christian is their struggle in the spiritual walk. The most influential men of modern and ancient times have found their greatest challenge to be their spiritual life. One illustration of this is found in a book by Frances Schaeffer entitled, True Spirituality. In the preface he states that after ten years of ministry in America, he had a serious spiritual crisis which caused him to reevaluate the complete basis of his spiritual position. Harry Ironside had a similar crisis in his spiritual life. Another man, who described himself as a student, honestly evaluated his spiritual struggles as follows:

His perplexity was this. He had heard and read his teachers describing a state of sustained victory over sin. It was pictured as a condition of peace and power in which the Christian, filled, and borne along by the Holy Spirit, was kept from falling and was moved and enabled to do things for God which would otherwise be beyond him. To yield, surrender, and concentrate oneself to God was the prescribed way in. … But the student’s experience as he tried to forge his way in was like that of the poor drug addict whom he found years later trying, and with desperate concentration, to walk through a brick wall. His attempts at total consecration left him where he was—an immature and churned-up young man, painfully aware of himself, battling his daily way, as adolescents do through manifold urges and surges of discontent and frustration … It all seemed a long way from the victorious power-packed life which those Christians were supposed to enjoy, who by consecration had emptied themselves of themselves.

But what should he do? According to the teaching all that ever kept Christians from this happy life was unwillingness to pay the entry fee—in other words, failure to yield themselves fully to God. So all he could do was to repeatedly reconsecrate himself, scraping the inside of his psyche until it was bruised and sore in order to track down still unyielded things by which the blessing was perhaps being blocked. His sense of continually missing the bus, plus his perplexity as to the reason why he was missing it, became painful to live with, like a verruca or a stone in your shoe that makes you wince every time you take a step.112

This man recounts how he had been elected as the librarian for a scholastic group. During his tenure as a librarian someone gave the group a 20 volume “uncut” set of John Owen’s works. As he began to cut some of the pages he read parts of the study. He was impressed with the volume entitled, Sin & Temptation. This man was J. I. Packer. He is convinced he owes his spiritual sanity to John Owen and his works on the spiritual life.

I am simply saying to you that when you meet renowned men of God, you will discover that those great men struggled with their spiritual life, and when you meet anyone who has a heart for God and is honest, they will tell you the same. This subject is an urgent issue, because those who want to know God agonize over the spiritual life. Their agony often comes because they have been wrongly taught. Many who have taught on the spiritual life have not taught it concisely or biblically. Consequently believers are trying to carry on a spiritual walk that only leads to brick walls because the teaching they receive is not accurate. Great damage has been done and will be done by false teaching.

Furthermore, within our traditions in evangelicalism, we have not produced a great number of men with a heart for God. Personal piety and holiness has not been the great offshoot of our strain of evangelicalism. Now that may come as a rather distressing revelation, and I am sorry if it does, but let me read you a couple of comments by J. I. Packer on that very subject.

The plain fact is that today’s biblical Christians wherever else they are strong, are weak on the inner life, and it shows.113

As he reviews various strains of the religious movement, he concludes that Roman Catholics and Episcopalians have often had a deeper sense of communion with God than Evangelicals. While distressing, I think Packer’s observation is true. Among the many reasons for this problem is our difficulty in concentrating on the inner life while fighting over inerrancy—the battle for the Bible. The fact is, when you are fighting for religious convictions, it’s tough to be thinking about your inner life. The teaching on the spiritual life is so crucial for us, because while we are vitally concerned about biblical orthodoxy, our relationship with God is very shallow.

Issues of the Spiritual Life

Let me sensitize you to the different historical schools of thought on the spiritual life. The first issue with respect to the spiritual life revolves around whether the Christian has one or two natures. A related question deals with whether there are really spiritual Christians and carnal Christians. Reformed theologians refute a division of natures and thus argue there is no such thing as a carnal Christian. It is important to understand the facts precipitating this controversy. Biblically speaking, we know that the source of sin includes “the world, the flesh, and the devil.” Unfortunately our understanding of “the world, the flesh, and the devil” is limited and often distorted.

A second related question is to what extent can sin be overcome in the life of a believer. In answer to this question the pendulum swings from those who stress Romans 7 and the inevitable struggle against sin to those who teach that sin can be totally eradicated in the life of the believer. Each one of us must admit that we struggle against sin every day, but we must not be so fatalistic that we are content to live with sin. On the other hand, each of us truly desires to be victorious over sin. However, the different views of perfectionism are extremely reactionary to Biblical reality. Both the Wesleyan view which teaches that sin can be eradicated from the heart but not from our deeds, and the more extreme perfectionistic tradition which teaches that sin can be eradicated altogether, are not true to our Christian experience. Reality lies somewhere in the middle of the swing of the pendulum. The question is what exactly does the Bible teach with respect to the believer’s practical dealing with sin?

A third related question is how does divine sovereignty and human responsibility relate to overcoming sin? Those who stress divine sovereignty believe that sin is conquered as the believer allows God to work in their life. Their maxim is, “Let go, and let God.” Those who emphasize human responsibility teach that the believer is obligated to overcome sin. J. I. Packer described his past experience of struggle in the Christian life. He found himself under the burden of trying to deal with sin by dredging and scraping his soul clean. He found this task impossible to complete.

Another issue is the matter of methods for living the Christian life. Some teach that salvation and sanctification are inseparably intertwined. I am among them. This view holds that sanctification is the outworking of salvation. Others teach that sanctification, though like salvation, differs in that a believer must have a “crisis” sanctification conversion experience. A new realm of spiritual existence is then entered in total submission to divine sovereignty.

Another issue with respect to the spiritual life deals with the exegesis of crucial passages. Most critical is the exposition of Romans 6-8. The sloppy handling of Romans 6 has caused many to have difficulty in their spiritual life. I visited a woman years ago in the psychiatric ward of Presbyterian Hospital who said, “I have been reckoning, and reckoning, and re-reckoning, and I still can’t get spiritual.” She saw Romans 6 as the means of sanctification, not as the basis for it. I believe Romans 6 describes the basis and the necessity for the spiritual life, but it does not give the method for living the spiritual life. The Bible does not give a formula for living other than “walking in the Spirit,” which is described in Romans 6-8. I want to challenge you to read J. I. Packer’s exposition of Romans 6 - 8.114

A final issue relates to theology. What place does the law have with respect to the spiritual life? Some suggest that the law has absolutely no value to the believer. They fail, however, I believe, to understand the context of the Book of Galatians because its message deals with legalism. The Book of Galatians was written to refute the view of the Judaizers that the law was a means of salvation and sanctification. In this book, Paul negatively addresses the subject of the law with a specific problem in mind. However, in Romans 7 Paul argues that the law is holy, righteous, and good. While Paul in the inner man agreed with the law, he just was not able to do it. As believers, what place should we give the law? I believe the law has no place, so far as a means of sanctification or salvation; however, the law does provide a standard of righteousness. In Romans 8:4, Paul says that those who walk in the Spirit will fulfill the law. The law is thus a beautiful standard, but it is not a source or a means of righteousness.

I want to return to one of my initial observations. There are many different positions on the spiritual life—Augustinian, Wesleyan perfectionism, Keswick movement, and the charismatic movement. However, the grim reality of life is that across the board you will find in each of these categories godly people and also those who have a shallow-to-nonexistent spiritual life. Just having the right theological categories doesn’t produce holiness of life, and it doesn’t make men or women spiritual. J. I. Packer, a hard-core, five point Calvinist, made this observation in regard to John Wesley, a rather loose Arminian:

Yet Wesley’s doctrine of perfection, as he and his brother Charles set it forth in homiletic prose and ecstatic hymns respectively, gave the Wesleyan version of the Christian life a quality of ardor, exuberance, and joy—-joy in knowing God’s love, and praising his grace, and resigning oneself into his hands—that went beyond anything we find in Calvin, the Puritans, and the earlier Pietists.115

In the Augustinian tradition, Augustine himself, Gernard, and Richard Baxter, came closest to it, but the passionate reasonings and rhapsodies of the Wesley brothers seem to the present writer at any rate to excel them all in this respect.116

Isn’t it amazing that a hard core Calvinist should admit this? It isn’t just one theological position that establishes the Christian’s relationship with God in a practical way in terms of the spiritual life. By the way, Packer says there are two explanations for this truth.117

(1) We need to understand that often it is not the error, but the truth of the position that leads to piety. He says of the Keswick movement, which caused him so much consternation, that it has blessed people and led to spiritual richness in their lives because it exalted Jesus Christ.

(2) God is gracious and He deals with men on the basis of their heart. When men have a genuine heart for God, God tends to ignore their bad theology and communes with their devoted heart. Packer says that God is not like a bureaucrat. A bureaucrat must have all the papers filled out just right. They will send forms back a dozen times if they haven’t been filled out exactly according to instructions. God differs from bureaucrats because He is not as wrapped up in all the details as He is concerned about men’s attitude toward Him and their desire toward Him.

Characteristics of the Spiritual Life

Whether one may hold the different orthodox positions of Wesley or John Owen, who are at theological polarities, the spiritual life can be enhanced by understanding what leads to godliness in men’s lives.

(1) The results of the spiritual life are often more evident than the reasons for it. Notice in Galatians 5 Paul says, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, but the fruit of the Spirit is …” It is easy to look at the results of spirituality rather than figure out the reasons behind it. This is so because of the nature of the Spirit. The results of the spiritual life are manifestations of the Spirit and are called the fruit of the Spirit. Remember in John 3 when Jesus met with Nicodemus and He said that the Spirit of God’s work in men is like the wind? The wind is not visible, but the results which it creates are. The Spirit is self-effacing. The Spirit is not concerned about the limelight. Thus the Spirit is evident by His fruits, rather than by His actual, visible presence. Consequently, the results of the spiritual life are more evident than the reasons. This is why the fruit of the spiritual life is emphasized. Hence our Lord said, “By their fruit you shall know them.”

(2) There are no formulas for the spiritual life. Did you notice that in Galatians 5 there are no formulas or methods for living the spiritual life? Paul only commands us to “walk in the Spirit.” Now for a methodist (in the generic sense), for one who is always method orientated, for one who wants steps and outlines and procedures, this is the most frustrating revelation of all. The spiritual life ultimately cannot be cranked out by following formulas, because formulas are antithetically opposed to “walking in the Spirit.” Since “walking in the Spirit” is dependence upon God, each Christian’s walk with the Lord is unique because it is personal. The standards of Scripture are not abrogated by this fact.

Let us examine some of the characteristics exhibited in the lives of spiritual believers whether they be Wesleyan or Reformed. Let me tell you that some of these areas ought be evident in our lives as well.

(1) A heart for God. More than anything else it is apparent to me that those who are truly spiritual have a heart for God. David is an illustration of an Old Testament saint who had a heart for God. David was “a man after God’s own heart.” Even when David sinned he responded to God’s corrective Word rather than rationalizing his behavior. Paul is an example of a New Testament saint who had a heart for God. He had a preoccupation with Jesus Christ. Thus he says in Philippians 3, “that I may know Him.”

(2) An intimacy with God. Intimacy is something that can hardly be defined. It is characterized by a comfortableness with God. This intimacy can be sensed in the prayers of some. Some prayers are seemingly a “to whom it may concern,” or like a mimeographed version of a letter. Such letters come in the mail and while all the information is there, something’s missing. Sometimes I get a letter in the mail addressed to “Robert T. Deffinbaugh” (my name is “Robert L. Deffinbaugh”). The phone directory has my name wrong so I know precisely where they obtained my name. I lack all sense of intimacy and interest in such a letter, because they know me only from a book. Intimacy with God manifests itself in honesty with God. The Psalmist is honest when he approaches God. Instead of mouthing the same old platitude, he speaks his mind. He tells God all while the rest of us put on a pious garb. When there is intimacy with God you are aware that God knows you better than you know yourself. So why fake it with God? Open yourself up to God and tell Him your inner thoughts, emotions, and needs.

(3) A hunger and a thirst after righteousness. In my last message I said it is wrong to pursue other people’s esteem or estimation of us as spiritual. Furthermore, our own estimation of our spiritual condition may be misleading. Let us pursue God in all of His holiness. Let us not seek to obtain people’s “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” on our spiritual life. In the Sermon on the Mount, those who seek God and who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed.

(4) A grasp of the gospel. Many people think the gospel is like an illness; hopefully it is something that will pass. This can be illustrated with respect to the Lord’s Supper. There may be a tendency to say, “Why do we repeat this week after week?” This question arises because of a misunderstanding of the gospel. Those who really know God have a depth of understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ and His work. Paul began Galatians 1 with his own conversion experience because at that point God radically changed his life. The gospel he received transformed his life and everything that he did. From that point on, all that Paul taught was vitally related to the gospel: God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness, and the centrality of the cross of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the focus of Paul’s teaching and action, and it is central to all those who truly know God. They never get over the gospel! The gospel is not only the basis of entrance into the spiritual life; it is the basis of the spiritual life. That is why Paul says in Galatians 5:24: “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh.” This is not teaching mortification of the flesh, though other passages may; it is saying when you were saved the flesh was put to death. Consequently Paul says, “If we live by the Spirit (regeneration), let us also walk by the Spirit.” If we have been converted, born again by the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit. Paul states in Colossians, “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” The gospel is the ground of everything we do. It is not only the basis of our salvation; it is the basis of our sanctification.

(5) A consciousness of conflict. Evangelical Christians today do not have a consciousness of the inner warfare described in Galatians 5. The charismatics also lack this consciousness, although they are to be commended for their awareness of the Ephesians 6 warfare. It is easier to say, “Satan and the demons are at work in the world,” than to say, “The flesh is at work in here! The problem is me!” This is the inner war that Paul describes as the conflict in Galatians 5.

(6) A recognition of imperfection. It is interesting that Wesley never claimed perfection as he taught it. He said, “The spirituality of which I speak in principle, I have never attained to.”118 Great and godly men have always been overcome with a sense of their own sin and failure. I am excited about the book Loving God by Charles Colson. However, it focuses on the initial commitment to obedience, and many of us need to start there. But after that initial commitment to love and to serve God, whatever the cost, no matter how pure and how holy that commitment may have been, the enactment will have problems. That is the nature of the results of the inner conflict. Packer says, “I never preached a sermon but what I could have done better. I never preached a sermon but what there were motives of impurity in my own heart.”119 I want to give you an illustration from my own life this past week. It was late as I drove into the parking lot to pick up my daughter at Braum’s where she works. One car had its headlights shining on another car, which was locked with the keys inside. My daughter got in my car as I walked over where the police were trying to open the car door with a professional lock-picking tool. Although this tool is available at our local parts store, I don’t need it; I always use a clothes hanger. The police tried numerous times, but they were unable to open the door. At this point I had an uncontrollable desire to get in that car. I drove to a nearby friend’s house and borrowed a pair of needle-nose pliers and a clothes hanger. On returning, I took command of the situation, and pushing the police aside, I displayed my expertise at breaking into locked cars. Five minutes later the car was open, and the party was on their way. Now I must tell you that I’m not even sure this deed started with spiritual motivation. I love the challenge of breaking into locked cars! On another occasion a AAA wrecker came to rescue a car that was mistakenly locked. After an hour the dispatcher sent the wrecker home with his professional tools. The car was a GM with a slide lock, so there was no handle to hook onto and pull up. That job took me a little longer, but it was especially satisfying. As a matter of fact, the other day (as long as I am confessing, I might as well tell it all), I was at the gas station, and the attendant had locked his keys in the office. I reached through the cash drawer with a long wire, fished his keys off the table at the back, and he gave me $3 worth of gas. I want to tell you that I received more pleasure than just three bucks! My point in these illustrations is that I do not think I even started to open these cars with any spiritual intention. I had a special sense of prideful pleasure when I told the police officer, “Step aside, sonny, and let a professional do this!” Often things we start that seem to be well motivated are corrupted by the flesh because of the war within. What we begin well, we don’t necessarily end well. The reality of life is that even if one whole act may possibly have been done spiritually, and without sin, a moment’s reflection on it later will corrupt it. This is why legalism will never sanctify. Once aware of the war within, and the fact that the flesh is always twisting and corrupting the mind, the intellect, the emotions, or the will, then we remove all hope of ever doing anything totally right.

(7) A realization that the spiritual life is humanly impossible. The spiritual life is similar to “walking on water.” It is absolutely impossible! In the gospel account Peter walked on the water but he began to sink as we see from the text that he obviously took his eyes off the Lord upon seeing the fearful wind and waves. Imagine, however, that Peter was not fearful but proud, or imagine that I attempted to walk on water. I would get out of the boat and tentatively test the water to see how well it supported me. As I was able to walk I would become more confident. I might then glance back to the others in the boat, thinking to myself that they were not as spiritual as I, perhaps even saying: “Hey, this is easy! Why don’t you come on out?” Pride would eventually overtake me with the thought, “Why, this isn’t bad; I should have done this sooner”—just as a big wave knocked me off my feet! Remember Peter’s experience was during a storm when the waves would have been moving quite roughly. The water supported him, but as the waves moved they could trip him; it probably was not easy. Similarly in the spiritual life, aggressive concentration is required even with God’s enablement, and we must realize that without divine enablement the spiritual life is impossible.

(8) A desire for selflessness and service. Those who are spiritual in biblical terms are selfless and are concerned about service, a subject discussed in the last message which I will not concentrate on here. Those who are truly spiritual have genuine humility. They understand the nature of grace, which excludes pride, because grace is always undeserved.

(9) A sense of a broader community. In Corinth the carnal Christians said, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas.” To the Corinthian the company of the committed was rather small. Note the old saying: “I’m not so sure about anybody but you and me, and I’m not even too sure about you.” The mentality of self-centeredness is proud and elitist. Those who are truly spiritual are sensitive to a broader group of believers in Christ. J. I. Packer makes this point well. Having a sensitivity to the working of God in the lives of others and a willingness to recognize God’s presence even when there are some doctrinal differences are characteristics of the spiritual believer. Packer emphasizes this in regard to Wesley, an Armenian:

I give the final word to Charles Wesley, the supreme poet of Christian experience. Here he expresses to perfection the prayerful state of mind of those in whom the Spirit is working holiness; and if it strikes us that one or two of his phrases suggest doctrinal misconceptions, we should tell ourselves that just as there is a time for making an issue of such things, so also there is a time for letting them pass.120

Packer says, “I don’t agree with Wesley’s theology, but I want to tell you that I think the Spirit of God is at work in the man and I accept it, and I accept him.” Those who walk in the Spirit sense the Spirit’s work in others, as well as in themselves. They respond to the Spirit, while they may reject the other’s theology. There is a broader perception of the body of Christ in those who are spiritual. This perception also affects a believer’s devotion to certain teachers. In Corinth the carnal Christians identified themselves with only one teacher. Those who are sensitive to the Spirit’s work in others are willing to be taught by anyone in whom the Spirit of God dwells and who speaks according to the truth of Scripture. Their teachers are many, not few. There is also a sense in which there is a willingness to learn from a variety of people. For instance Packer could learn from Wesley, although he differs from him in many regards. While we need to be willing to learn from teachers and others we also need to rely upon the Spirit’s work in teaching us individually. I fear that in this day in which we stress discipleship, there is an undue, inordinate sense of reliance upon other people which I think is not good. While we do need other people, let us beware of an undue reliance upon them rather than a self-sufficiency that comes in Christ.

(10) A sense of anticipation and urgency. Those who are genuinely spiritual believe the days before the Lord returns are few. Expectation and urgency characterize such believer’s lives. They focus on spiritual activity. All through the Scriptures, Old and New, men’s actions were based on promise, and promise called for activity. God has promised to provide for our needs! God has promised to empower us! God has given us the vision, and that is why activity is necessary. Paul says, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12c-13). God is the One who is working in us, so we should humbly give ourselves to that work.

(11) A passion for the Word of God. I read this week a pamphlet by Martin Luther and was impressed once again by the Reformation principle, sole Scripture, Scriptures only. Now I understand the context in which they formed this principle. The Roman Catholic Church is a highly authoritarian system where members are told what to believe; believe the church. However, the principle is valid. We need to have a dependence upon the Word of God and an insatiable appetite for it. Those who are spiritual spend much time in the Scriptures seeking God’s Word.

Conclusion

Let me make some concluding observations. First, we are very adamant in condemning the legalist who evaluates other people on outward standards; and yet we do the same thing, only our measure of evaluation is often a doctrinal creed (however accurate it may be). There is a sense in which we evaluate people by their conformity to our creed, first and foremost. This is not to say that a person can deny the fundamentals of the faith, and yet exhibit a spiritual life. Although I was not present when Frances Schaeffer spoke here, I heard this story about his visit. During the question and answer period someone asked, “Are you a four or a five point Calvinist?” Dr. Schaeffer was caught off guard. Pausing for a minute he responded, “Oh, that’s right—this is Dallas isn’t it?”

We make the touchstone of spirituality adherence to some form of systematic theology. In this sense we are no better than the legalist of Paul’s day. Today spirituality is warped to the extent that we ignore the truth. Let’s cease in our judgments of who belongs to the spiritual circle of the committed. Instead, let’s make a study of the true nature of the spiritual life.

Packer makes an excellent observation about the spiritual life when he quotes a statement by G. K. Chesterton: “And don’t believe in anything that can’t be told in coloured pictures.”121

Any picture, like any idea, that is out of focus and in black and white is so abstract and ethereal that it isn’t worth trusting. When I attended seminary Dr. Charles Ryrie was known to say, “If you can’t teach it to a two-year old class, it probably isn’t worth teaching.” There is a lot of enigma in what is being communicated. Truth that is taught clearly is taught by means of object lessons. This is evidently one reason Jesus taught in parables and why all communicators do well to cultivate a style of presentation that is as imaginative as it is analytical. We find this method in writers like C. S. Lewis and preachers like C. H. Spurgeon. As Packer notes, the problem in understanding the spiritual life is that it has been taught and illustrated poorly:

Why? Because bad pictures grab the imagination, too, and prepossess the mind with strong notions, and in recent times this particular doctrine has suffered from bad pictures more than most. It has been verbalized and illustrated in ways that suggest that we can turn on the Spirit’s power to work automatically in our lives; that holy persons are borne along with a state of psychological passivity; that they may uncritically trust their present thoughts and feelings as coming from God, once they have handed over their thought lives and emotional lives to their Lord; and that while Christ lives his divine life in their physical bodies, their personal selfhood is, or should be, in abeyance. … No wonder our thinking goes astray when wrong notions and bad pictures are cluttering our minds.122

Furthermore Packer correctly points out that there are a lot of unbiblical phrases about the spiritual life used today. He says they become the only vocabulary some people possess for thinking and talking about what Scripture calls “repentance” and “obedience” in the Christian life.

My application is this: make a study of what the spiritual life really means. Too often we are pursuing what Packer says is a “will-of-the-wisp.” Although we don’t even know what we are looking for, and we are trying to find a formula to reach a goal we haven’t even defined. Make a study of the spiritual life and define it; more importantly, desire it. Ask God to produce in your heart more than anything else a desire to know Him. There is a popular statement, “Where there is a will there is a way.” Oftentimes we are looking for the way without having the will. We want to know what spirituality is, but do we want to be spiritual? Our problem isn’t wrong methods; our problem is wrong motivation. We don’t really have our heart set toward God. That is ultimately the issue of spirituality. When your heart is right toward God, I am convinced that God will lead you into that intimacy that He has promised.

Finally, get moving! God has given us promises about the spiritual life, and all we need to do is to claim them and act on them. We don’t sit and wait for God to move us; God has moved. The Spirit is within us. His promises are true. I encourage you to begin at that point.


112 J. I. Packer, Keep in Step With the Spirit (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1984), pp. 157-158.

113 Ibid., p. 76.

114 Ibid., pp. 159-163.

115 Ibid., p. 134.

116 Ibid.

117 Ibid., pp. 158-159.

118 Ibid., p. 134.

119 Ibid., p. 130.

120 Ibid., p. 168.

121 Ibid., p. 115.

122 Ibid., pp. 115-116.

Related Topics: Ecclesiology (The Church), Soteriology (Salvation), Spiritual Life