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Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

1 John 2:15-17 (MSG)

Spirituality is the conviction that doing what God wants leads to security and happiness. Worldliness is the belief that security and happiness come from things outside of God. When we are worldly we think that contentment will come from getting what we want, appearing how we want or achieving what we want. Spirituality is about what God can do, while worldliness is about what we can do ourselves.

I struggle daily with worldliness. I can constantly look to draw my happiness, identity and security from the approval of people around me or from what I can achieve. I believe this is a common struggle for most of us. Here are four ways we can work daily to choose spirituality over worldliness.

Spirituality is Vision Not Competition

 Where there is no vision from God, the people run wild, but those who adhere to God’s instruction know genuine happiness.

Proverbs 29:18 (Voice)

Spirituality is about listening to God’s Word and vision for our lives. We too often try to look to social media, television, parents, friends, church or co-workers to get a vision for our lives. We look to people’s approval or success to find our sense of worth or direction. The Bible is clear that God has a vision for our lives. He cares. There is something great he is doing but we have to learn to believe his Words over our own thoughts or other people’s thoughts.

Do you take time daily to prioritize listening to God’s word? Do you take time to think about what he wants for your life daily?

Spirituality is Relationship Not Rules

The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down the strongholds erected against His truth.5 We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (Voice)

Spirituality is about obeying the will of God instead of our emotions (Acts 5:32 & Matthew 7:21). God does not want us to ignore our thoughts and emotions. God does not want us to lie about our thoughts and emotions. God wants us to deal with them every day and choose to obey Him.

It takes work to getting our hearts behind doing what God desires us to do. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to start working on taking your thoughts and emotions to God and then making a choice to obey the Bible:

  • What are your thoughts about God today? Is he good? Are you excited about him? Why or why not?
  • What emotions are you feeling today? Find a Scripture about that emotion that helps you understand why you are feeling it.
  • What sins are you struggling with? Find a Scripture about that sin that helps you see how you can repent.
  • What do you desire most today? What does God want you to do today?

Spirituality is to Share Not Despair

 Learn some lessons from this crooked but clever asset manager. Realize that the purpose of money is to strengthen friendships, to provide opportunities for being generous and kind. Eventually money will be useless to you—but if you use it generously to serve others, you will be welcomed joyfully into your eternal destination.
10 If you’re faithful in small-scale matters, you’ll be faithful with far bigger responsibilities. If you’re crooked in small responsibilities, you’ll be no different in bigger things.

Luke 16:9-10 (Voice)

Spirituality is about giving to others. Worldliness is about what you can get from others. I think many of us have the attitude of “if I had more then I would give more.” A spiritual perspective would instead be that I have what I have to help others, how will I help others today?

What is your attitude about the resources (money, time, etc) you have? How are you using your wealth to strengthen your relationships? How are you using your wealth to build God’s church?

Spirituality is to Dare Not be Scared

“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ 26-27 “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. 28-30 “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb.

Matthew 25:24-29 (MSG)

Spirituality is about giving our best to glorify God.  Spirituality is motivated out of trust for God and a desire to please God. Worldliness is motivated by fear. We can way too often be motivated more by a fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of disaster, fear of loss and others fears. Fear and laziness will stop us from valuing and using the talents God has given us. We are supposed to use our talents to bring more glory to God.

What talents has God given you? What fears are holding you back from giving God and people your best? What would repentance look like for you this week? How will your repentance impact the lives of others?

Also, God gives wealth, possessions, and power to enjoy those things, and He allows them to accept their lot in life and to enjoy hard work. This is God’s gift. 20 For people like this have no time to despair over life because God keeps them so busy with a deep-seated joy.

Ecclesiastes 5:19 (Voice)

God says that the more we rely on him and give to others the more content we will be. We all have a choice everyday when we wake up in the morning where we will look for satisfaction. Choose spirituality today!

Written by

Sam Manuel

Sam is a former outside linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. Since retiring from the NFL, Sam has worked in the ministry serving communities in the Bay Area.