What does being spiritual look like? Can I be practical and spiritual at the same time? Are they two separate things? Do they overlap? And do these questions really matter?
They do - because without a proper understanding of the spiritual dimension of our lives we could find ourselves living half a life and losing any sense of purpose or meaning.
What do we mean by ‘spiritual’? Suffice it to say that there is a world inhabited by God himself -Father, Son and Spirit - angels, spirits and demons. That world is very close. Christians know from personal experience that there is a powerful spiritual dimension to life.
The question that faces us as Christians is how the spiritual world and physical world interact. Are they entirely separate or do they merge and lose their identity? Where does the spiritual end and the practical begin? Is the universe like an apple chopped in two with one half representing the spiritual and the other the physical? If we see it like that we could struggle with whether we are being spiritual or practical enough in our response to any given situation.
Perhaps there is a different way of looking at all this. Rather than seeing the physical and spiritual as two halves perhaps we should see the juice in the apple as being the spiritual dimension. As Christians we have committed and submitted our lives to God. He is involved in every aspect of our lives. For the Christian there is no part of life that is not spiritual. Just as the all-pervading juice gives the apple its flavour and life so if we allow the presence of God to invade every aspect of our lives, even the most physical and practical parts are infused with his love and glory.
For Brother Lawrence, ‘common business,’ no matter how mundane or routine, could be a medium of God's love. The sacredness or worldly status of a task mattered less than the motivation behind it. He wrote, ‘Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him….. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.’
Paul, who had seen many people healed of so many sicknesses, told young Timothy to ‘take a little wine for his stomach’s sake’. We can, and must be, intensely spiritual and practical at the same time.