In 2006, Dr. Margaret Paul, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology, wrote an article titled “What Does it Mean to Be a Spiritual Person?”
The premise of her article is that “Being a spiritual person is synonymous with being a person whose highest priority is to be loving to oneself and others.”
She writes, “A spiritual person cares about people, animals, and the planet. A spiritual person knows that we are all One, and consciously attempts to honor this Oneness. A spiritual person is a kind person.”
However, her definition misses the point of what being a spiritual person actually is, which is ironic because she starts the article off so well by stating that people can attend church every Sunday, practice yoga, meditate or belong to a spiritual group and yet not be spiritual, a point on which she is absolutely correct. Anyone can participate in anything by going through the motions of an activity regardless of their attitude towards the activity.
But then she suddenly falls short when she concludes that being spiritual is being loving to oneself and others. The truth that Dr. Paul missed is that her previously stated logic can also be applied to her conclusion. A person can be loving to themselves and others and yet still not be a spiritual person.
Being a spiritual person is someone who is filled by God’s Holy Spirit. When one is filled with the Holy Spirit, the essence of God’s divine nature becomes a part of them, and as a result they become a person who is loving to themselves and others. This divine inner filling causes a person’s outward desires to naturally change. They become a person who, by their very nature, desires to care about people and all of God’s creation.
Being filled by the Holy Spirit brings to a person an inner peace and joy that most people long for. Not only that, but it’s the Holy Spirit who can supernaturally remove all the hurts, anger and resentments that may be stored up within them from past relationships.
The Holy Spirit is also able to break the chains of addictions such as alcohol, drugs and other dependences. The Holy Spirit can heal marriages, mend relationships, heal the body and mend the soul.
However, being filled by God’s Holy Spirit doesn’t automatically mean that all of life’s problems are instantly solved. Once you are filled with the Holy Spirit and receive the peace, joy and rest that comes only from God, many of the people you normally associate with will suddenly begin to reject you. The reason is that the Holy Spirit is, as the name implies, “Holy”. Many people wrongly assume that in order to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, they must first give up everything that’s important to them or make other uncomfortable changes in their lives. As strange as it may sound, most people unknowingly dislike the Holy Spirit and will go to great lengths to avoid the topic.
This can be discouraging, but the loss of a few friends pales in comparison to the immeasurable depth and breadth of God’s love filling your innermost being and bringing you the inner peace, joy and rest that your soul longs for.
(photo credit: Flickr Creative commons, Meditation by Toshimasa Ishibashi)