What is a real tangible relationship with God like? Both religious and non-religious people can have the same ideas about that. Some think that a relationship with God involves God intervening in the natural world in miracles. And then they are religious or non-religious depending on whether they believe that happens. Or some think God is experienced not so much in the interruption of the natural world but in extreme natural experiences such as extremes of emotion, or particular emotional content such as a feeling of God’s presence. And then people are religious or non-religious just depending on their experiences. Or some people think spirituality is found in success, either individually or as humanity. And people differ in both their experiences, and how they evaluate success.
But each of us wants to see ourselves as a good person. And so the Bible presents a challenge to all by presenting virtue as the index of spirituality. For those of us who are religious, the challenge is, am I as virtuous as I think I am spiritual? For those of us who are secularist, the challenge is, to the extent that I am virtuous, am I more religious than I think I am?
This Sunday at church we will be continuing our studies Walking on the Sun with the words:
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. (1 John 2:3, NIV)