There is a lot of talk today about spirituality. There are those who
point to someone else and say, “He is spiritual” or, “He is not spiritual.”
I wonder what these people mean by that word spiritual. Some people
think that in order to be spiritual, you have to float 40 feet off the ground
and act funny. They relate spirituality to certain kinds of “feeling”
phenomena, having not learned to distinguish between “manifestation”
and “demonstration.” It is a subtle distinction.
When you deal in semantics, you can talk in “reportive” or
commonly agreed upon meanings. Or you can stipulate just about any
meaning you want. I can call a blackboard a “bicycle”; and once I
stipulate that meaning, ever after when I talk about a bicycle I mean
something I am going to write on. Only those who heard the stipulation
know what I am talking about. When you trace many words to their
roots, you come to some common meanings and the word
“demonstration” puts the emphasis on my reactions to reality.
Demonstrations are as different as the multitude of personalities.
I don’t act the same way other people act at a Rose Bowl game, and
some wouldn’t act as I act. Someone might elbow the people sitting
next to him and yell and wave things around and jump and holler. I
don’t give up on football or baseball because of his demonstration; I just
write it off and say, “That’s the way he is.” Other people just sit silent
and boil; it is an inner fire that is flowing. Anytime you encounter
reality, this mechanism is designed to react. My Bible says, speaking of
God, that “in thy presence is fulness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11) Well, that
means that if you are going to encounter ultimate reality, “in whose
presence is fullness of joy,” you have to expect some variety of
reactions and demonstrations.
Again, it is a matter of emphasis: the word manifestation comes
more to the root of revealing that which was not seen. Sometimes God
manifests His presence with either demonstration or non-demonstration;
and once His presence is manifested, there is a spectrum of multiple
demonstrations. None of that defines spirituality, though manifestation
comes closer. Demonstration is not necessarily a mark of spirituality on
the part of the demonstrator.
The way some people approach producing spirituality is like a
farmer who goes out to an apple tree and, shaking the branches, demands
“Now, give me some apples!” They think they can “work it up.” Well, if
it is a good apple tree, it is going to bear good fruit. It is not a good apple
tree just because it shakes when the wind blows: every tree in the yard
shakes when the wind blows. There is nothing special about responding
to ultimate reality: that doesn’t make a good tree. The good apple tree,
because of what it is, produces fruit.
In the New Testament Greek, the literal meaning of spirituality is
“the expressions of the Spirit.” Literally, it is God being Himself through us. It is God having an opportunity in a garment of flesh to be Himself,
the expressions of the Spirit. Pastor Scott continues teach that when Paul speaks to the Corinthian church of their riches in the gifts of the Spirit, he calls them by a word in the Greek from which we get the English word plutocrats: literally, those Corinthians were “overfull.”
I challenge you to diagram the sentences of the Corinthian letter. Never once is there a suggestion by Paul that at any time were these Corinthians having less than a genuine infilling of the Holy Spirit: they were plutocrats in the Spirit.