29 December 2011


There is a strong propensity in Christian culture to over spiritualize.  I sometimes use the term "over-spiritualize" to define interpreting events in our life that exceed their intended meaning, or when an event is over-compensated with implications that God had orchestrated it.

As a follower of Jesus, it is tempting sometimes to find a profound spiritual meaning in something that moved me emotionally.  While there is certainly a spiritual nature to everything, sometimes we forget God made us as emotional beings so we feel deeply because we are made human, not because of divine intervention. 

In some ways we are afraid of not making something spiritual because we feel the need to legitimize the events or happenings in our ongoing life.  We want our experiences to be important, really important.  We fear not having an important life.  Sometimes the desire to live a life that matters can be the trigger for over-spiritualizing.

In other ways we have an over developed understanding of God’s sovereignty.   We think He’s personally intervening all the time.  If God is intervening in our stuff all the time we paint a picture of a God who is obsessed with the minutia of “my life” as much as I am.  When we credit God for intervening we come across ignorant of the reality that at this moment 29,000 mothers are begging God to save their starving child while we're convinced God made a certain song come on the radio just to send us a personal message.

Jesus purposed to point out reality verses God’s activity. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus mentioned a recent tragedy about some Galileans who were killed by the Romans.  Many expected Him to say that their deaths were from God’s hand.  Yet, in mentioning the collapse of the tower of Siloam, Jesus taught that events like these come upon everyone, regardless of their behavior.  Many of today's Christians would interpret such a situation as an act of God when it is actually a result of living in the world.

The danger in over-spiritualizing something is that we put too much value on one thing and in so doing take away value from the more important things.  The odd thing is, when we over-spiritualize we actually create emotional confusion about what God is up to in this world.  We create a consciousness that is waiting for a "movement of God."  We create a God that is without who intervenes in dramatic ways instead of a God who is within in the form of the Holy Spirit striving with us to bear fruit in the routine of our life.

Sure there's more of an emotional return to claim “God gave me such and such” or “told me such and such” but God’s activity is primarily birthed on the battle ground of relationships. The New Testament creates a new pipeline for His voice and this is through the gritty rub of a living into community.  The sober reality is that the Bible never uses the word “personal” to speak of God’s relating with us. There are no phrases throughout the entire New Testament like “a personal walk with God” or “a personal relationship with God.”  The supernatural and practical reality of a community struggling out submission to Jesus is the primary conduit in which we hear, see and feel God.  Over-spiritualizing can be really unspiritual.


  1. Hi Dan my name is Rob and I have been over spiritualizing for years and I don't know how to stop it please write and give me some ideas I wonder sometimes if Iam even saved I fight the common over spirirtulizing like saying God told me such and such but I find myself consumed with fear that Iam going to hell and I cry out to God and Ian in such distress that I seem to seek to hear a message from a song or wait for something to jump out at me in the Bible I know that Gods word is clear that we are to walk by the Spirit and bear the fruit thereof and we are to Love God and love our neighbor as our selves and we can love them by putting ourselves in their shoes and trying to understand their hearts and the way they see things and then ask ourselves and do what we believe according to scripture is the loving and serving thing while at the same time we deny ourselves as it comes up during the day I just don't seem to have that assurance that flooded my soul when I first got saved why did it just seem to fade away and now I feel like I did when I was not saved I know this is kind of all over the place but any of your insight would be appreciated thanks

  2. Rob, I read your comment yesterday and felt the need to post. I just want to encourage you. Continue to cry out to God. He hears you. Jesus is there to conquer your fear of death for you. Ask him to speak to you in a way you will hear. Spend time talking with God. Tell him everything- every fear, every doubt, every frustration. Get it all out there. Set aside some time to spend in the Word. Seek the Lord with your whole heart. I know this advice is general, but it is what has worked for me. I will be praying for you. Take heart, my friend!

  3. Rob, man I understand a bit where you're coming from, and I agree with the above, most definitely. keep reaching out. and recognize that perhaps you are engaged in a spiritual battle. If so, then you need to fight back brother! In the name of Jesus there is power, and it works every time. If thats not the case, I've found that trusting Him, the Almighty, All-Powerful, Loving, and Holy God, creator of the Universe and you and me, can reach out and touch your life. He doesn't need you to be reaching out to Him, his arms are long enough and strong enough. Remind yourself of everything that God is, and remember that you have been chosen by God to be His adopted son. So relax, don't stop looking for God, but maybe listen a bit smarter. and you'll hear His voice. God Loves you and will nevr let you go

  4. Hi Rob, our call is to LOOK at/to Jesus.He saved us,He loves us,He works(produces good works) in us,He,He...He...He...He... Let's just believe(rest,abide in Him) and Let Him be our mind's focus in life.Yea, I have experienced the fear/horror of being cast away,separated from God.He was there during that time and He will never live me.