September 16, 2020

Spiritually Engaged

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 16, 2020

But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 1 Corinthians 2:14

My step-grandfather, N.B. Smith, once said to me, “Boyd, I like my Pastor. He is smart and he works hard. But he needs to be more spiritual.” I was only a young man in my twenties when I heard him say this, and I was kind of shocked by it. Whatever did he mean? His words sounded a bit judgmental to me. After all, what did he mean by “spiritual”? Did he want someone who was pretentiously religious, who was self-righteous and looked down his nose at others, or who was a moralistic “stick in the mud”? Of course, he didn’t mean any of these things. He was talking about wanting his pastor to be a little less concerned with all the business of being a “man of the cloth,” and a little more concerned with the things of God.

As I have gotten older, I have begun to understand exactly what N.B. was talking about. It is possible to become so overly familiar with your faith that you drift away from daily dependence upon the Holy Spirit, which is the most necessary thing for understanding and applying the truths of God in your life and in your leadership. You can, in your familiarity, get complacent about your relationship with God and about listening to His leading in your life. You can replace seeking an intimate communion with the Trinity with a dependence on your own gifts and talents. You can rely on what you know rather than being someone always listening for His voice.

I’ve always loved the title of the classic book by Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God. As he asserts, it is not enough just to know about God, but you need to be in an intimate daily fellowship with Him. That is the key to be the kind of leader who bears fruit in their work. And this doesn’t just apply to pastors and spiritual leaders, but to leaders of every kind. Our first priority should be to experience a deep and abiding friendship with God.

“The delicate and the refined natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God.” 

Charles Spurgeon

Our openness to God, and our receptivity to His love and leading, are the foundation for our spiritual life. As Jesus said, “He who has ears, let him hear” (Mark 4:9). And we can only hear Him when we are receptive to Him. Jesus knew that before we could really comprehend His teaching, we needed to be willing to hear and respond. There is a hunger within each of us that can only be satisfied by Him, but we must want to hear. 

Spiritual receptivity is born out of an attitude of being willing to listen. Our actions will indicate our openness to God’s agenda, but these actions are initiated by a posture of wanting to hear. Our gratitude and humility open the door, and God is always waiting to enter in. It is the willing heart that the Holy Spirit will infuse with insight. As we start to pay serious attention to His voice and respond with obedience, His Word must first lodge in our heart and bear fruit in our life. A deeper spiritual understanding of the ways of the Lord is not something reserved for pastors, or scholars, or saints. It is not something to be achieved by a select group of “professional Christians,” but is for everyone who wants to find it. 

“The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:17).


Dear Lord, keep my heart tender to your mercies every morning, and in awe of your holy love, in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Consider engaging a Spiritual Coach or Director to guide you in God’s ways.

Related Reading

John 15:26, 16:13; 1 John 4:6; 1 Corinthians 2:13

Check out Boyd’s newest 40 day devotional book: Wisdom For Living

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