“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” - John 3:6-8
Our spiritual life is a very important part of who we are in general and who we are specifically as Christians. I have often said that if we were to equate our status of being as a Christian with our status of being as a citizen, it is akin to holding dual citizenship. If I held dual citizenship papers I would be, in effect, a full citizen of two nations with all the rights and responsibilities of both. We are made both of the flesh and of the spirit, and we must live into dual reality of our being.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6
Our spirit enables us to have a spiritual connection to the Holy Spirit, through whom we experience the life of God flowing through us. The night before he died, Jesus consecrated the Disciples with the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room and pre-figured the full coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. His communion, his “with-ness” with us, is our rebirth. This revelation of the presence of God with us was the pivotal point of life in the post Ascension era. To be “Born Again” and to recognize the indwelling life of the Holy Spirit is to faithfully live our lives as the “spiritual citizens” Jesus has called us to be. Living into our spiritual life and growing spiritually is not only a mark of Christian Baptism but a necessity of Christian life. Put more bluntly, if you are the same person you were last year at this time, you have some spiritual growing up to do.
There is much you may currently be doing to grow spiritually, or you have tried in the past, but God calls us daily, even moment by moment. It’s not like a new yoga class or diet or fitness regimen, or anything that can be completed and passed. Living “in the spirit” is a constant awareness of the presence of God in life—and in your life, specifically—and a faithful and prayerful submission to God’s shaping of you. And because trust, obedience, humility, and un-self-awareness are not the most human of virtues, there is always more you can do to grow in the Spirit.
Oftentimes, the hard part in the process of spiritual growth is figuring out where to start. I have put links to two “Spiritual Inventories” below: one is an on-line assessment and the other will need to be printed. Both are well formulated and constructed by other church groups. Because of this they will have specific suggestions at the end that will match their parish. When you finish, simply “insert here” our parish resources or call me and I will help construct a “Spiritual Growth Plan” specifically for you!
Online Spiritual Life Inventory
PDF Personal Spiritual Inventory
“We are one in the Spirit—We are one in the Lord!”
Father Bill Burk†