Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Six Tests of a Spiritual Man

The use of the term “spiritual” in some groups may describe someone who does not dress like the world, or appears to live absent from reality, or speaks in tongues, or feels close to God. Galatians is about this very issue.

Judiazers had come to make believers “spiritual.” The Judiazers’ favorite method of obtaining a superior spiritual status was circumcision and other outward signs of the law. Paul explains that true spirituality is not found in methods or rituals. It can only come from God. If a person is trying to produce an imitation spirituality, the result will always be a work of the flesh such as jealousy, selfish ambition, factions and envy. (5:19)

Paul stresses the need for a person to become a “new creation” (6:15) and then to express that new nature (5:6) by producing the fruit of the spirit (5:22-23).

Since our new life is from the Spirit we need to “keep in step with the Spirit.”(5:25)

In Galatians 6:1-6 Paul tells his readers six things a spiritual person will find themselves doing.

First, “if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” “Restore” is used to refer to setting a broken bone. The spiritual person will be able to correctly diagnose and fix a spiritual “broken arm” of sin. In contrast, the unspiritual believer might tell the fallen brother to simply stop having a broken arm or give them a list of exercises to strengthen it or kick them out since they are useless with a “broken arm.”

Second, “Carry each other’s burdens.” “Burdens” is the word that refers to a load that is naturally too heavy for one person. We all have times in our lives where emotionally, financially, physically or spiritually our burden is more than one person could ever carry. The spiritual believer meets needs, they do not create needs.

Third, “take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.” Each of us has a gift we use. We can know we are doing it successfully without comparing ourselves to the “lesser” believers. Nor do we feel inferior due to the “great” believers.

Fourth, “Each one should test his own actions.” With a mind renewed to the word of God we can judge and correct our own hearts and attitudes.

Fifth, “each one should carry his own load.” This is a different word than “burden” used above. This is the weight of the supplies and equipment of a soldier. We each have been equipped to do our job. Do not expect someone else to carry your spiritual backpack of responsibility in the body of Christ.

Sixth, “share all good things with his instructor.” The spiritual person realizes the value of the sources that cause spiritual growth. Food, cars and possessions do not cause spiritual growth. The things that lead to spiritual growth will be defended and supported by the spiritual man.(6:1-6)

Galyn Wiemers

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