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Faith Imagined: Empty Spirituality

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

January 9, 2011

Empty Spirituality

Research shows that many people do not know how to read their body cues. We confuse hunger for thirst, so we eat though we're really thirsty. Since our thirst never gets satisfied, we continue eating, hoping to quiet our need.

When we finally do recognize our thirst, we go for sugar and caffeine loaded beverages that actually dehydrate us even more. We down our coffee and sodas, which seem to help for the moment, but an hour later our bodies start sending us more need-signals.

We live out these crazy lives filled with unending needs and desires, but we never recognize the answer to our cravings -- we need WATER!

Our need for water is spiritual, as well. We are born with an innate desire for our God. He designed us with a craving for His Spirit. However, instead of filling our cups with Him, we fill our plates piled high with food of the world. We eat of pleasures, worries, money, relationships, materialism; and we are never satisfied. We have become fat, indulged, ever-hungry people, and our Spirits are whithering away to nothing.

However, the Enemy knows that many people will catch on to the fact that they are spiritually thirsty, so he cleverly creates Empty Spirituality. There are many beautiful tasting forms of spirituality that have always existed in this world. People drink them down hoping to quench their spiritual needs, but they only become more spiritually dehydrated.

Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water (John 4.10 NIV). (emphasis added)

I've come across a lot of "enlightened" spiritual leaders, books and schools of thought, but they are completely void of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. The Enemy sews many seeds of tantalizing insights that twist and change the Word of God. Then he strategically glosses over Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins -- humanity's only true hope. And the sad truth is that droves of people are getting a big dose of spiritually, but it's coming from the wrong side of eternity.

My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water" (Jeremiah 2.13 NIV). (emphasis added)

We are unable to dwell with God in His realm, until we have our sins covered by the blood of Jesus. Jesus' sacrifice atones for our sins, and we take on His righteousness. God cannot connect with us otherwise because He is perfect, holy and pure. Jesus is the ONLY way to reach God. Why would God compete with "alternate" ways to His throne? Why would Jesus have to die on the cross if there was another way? Why would Jesus allow Himself to be disconnected from God for three days to take our sins on His back if a different plan of salvation could be achieved?

On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart’ (John 7.37-38 NLT). (emphasis added)

Jesus is God in the flesh who came down to this earth so that we could commune with a Holy God. People die for the cause of Jesus Christ because they know He is the world's answer for our spiritual need. Jesus is the Living Water. We must not accept spiritual substitutes, and we do God's children a horrible wrong when we skip over the cross. Spirituality will not get people to the presence of God -- only JESUS will.

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’ ” (Revelation 7.17 NIV). (emphasis added)

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters
(Genesis 1.2 NLT). (emphasis added)

Question: Have you seen the core of Christianity influenced by Jesus-less doctrine? What can you do to protect yourself and others from consuming Empty Spirituality? Why is imperative for the foundation of spirituality to be built on Jesus?

Let's feed our children Living Water. Give them Jesus!

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Blogger Joanne Sher said...

(first of all, my daughter LOVES the picture. She wouldn't let me keep reading until she was done looking at the "cute girl.")

This is such a wonderful lesson, Alisa. There is only ONE way to quench that thirst. Powerful reminder of our need to be vigilant about where we're getting our spiritual nourishment.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

Yes, I have seen this trend in today's church; it grieves and sobers me. While I pray for the body in general, I also pray for our local body, that we would grow and become what He's called us to be. I aim to stay in the Word and before the throne to walk uprightly and continue in His will.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Stuff could always be worse said...

We do need to be on guard for Jesus-less doctrine. It is consuming the world, it seems to me.
This post is needed!

3:23 PM  
Blogger Leah @ Point Ministries said...

What a wonderful post! So many people have ascribed to a feel-good, health and wealth theology that they don't realize that Jesus is totally non-existent in it. It is subtle and you have to listen past the 'your best life now' to hear the Jesus-less doctrine.


3:29 PM  
Blogger Braley Mama said...

It is so hard to get caught up in wordly things, even wordly spirituality. Have you read The Calvary Road?
It is a very good read on revival, personal revival with God. "Christianity" today is so white washed it is really a horrible trick the devil is playing on the US.
Thanks for another brilliant post!

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Renee Ann said...

Jesus is still a stumbling block to many today. So sometimes folks find it easier to leave Him out of the picture--even when doing church. I have seen Christians get waylaid by goals and activities that are good but won't bear fruit for eternity. Fortunately my pastor and church leaders are very sensitive to this! They help keep us all focused on the right things!

5:37 PM  
Blogger lioneagle said...

Hi Alisa -

When I came here tonight, I was struck that today the Lord had us both to post comments relative to "living water." Also, my photo today has water shown, as well. How interesting that it happened as it did today...

Also, you said, "We must not accept spiritual substitutes, and we do God's children a horrible wrong when we skip over the cross. Spiritually will not get people to the presence of God -- only JESUS will."

Very well said, Alisa - I wholly agree.

Note: I love your photo of the child with the water. Lovely...

7:15 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

Hi, Alisa. This is a very meaningful post because a friend and I had just finished speaking about our deteriorating culture and how badly people treat each other. There are prosperity preachers, but they leave me feeling empty. What I enjoyed so much about your points is how you approach them with the simplicity and clarity The Lord used in His communication, as He tried to reach hearts. :)

7:39 PM  
Blogger Jeanette Levellie said...

Yes, I have noticed the empty wells masquerading as truth. And I agree that we must stay in the Word to guard against lies. If you know what a real twenty dollar bill looks like, you won't be fooled by a counterfeit one, right?


7:52 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I am in the process of starting a mission in India.. The name of the mission will be Living Water Mission. It is named after the woman at the well....... Where her sin met HIS purity and her sin was washed away....... It is my favorite story in the word of God...

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth Rose said...

You are a lovely writer. Stumbled onto your web site and enjoyed the following description - inspirational! "The imagination is a gift from God. It enables us to take knowledge from our minds and pour it into our hearts. The imagination is our creative license from the Creator. He has designed our path, but He wants us to paint the colors along the way." Christ consciousness (i.e. LOVE) is certainly one of the highest goals, but creativity is another of the highest! What a lovely message. Light, Love and Joy, Elizabeth Rose

10:42 PM  
Blogger The Unknowngnome said...

from depths welling drawn
may it be the real realm
to flow and overflow bubbling
to thirst no more
and not eternity's wrong side dwell,
for "Jesus-less" is useless.

2:11 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

Great article! I know I am totally guilty of doing this, as most of us are. We go for the most instant gratification, empty calories, empty teachings. You'd think we'd recognize them for what they are and yet, sometimes we don't. Thank you for the encouraging words and reminder to seek water for our bodies and for our souls.

Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

9:42 AM  
Blogger Reign and Shine said...

Alisa, Thank you again for drawing our minds to Christ. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Praise and honor to the Lamb that was slain.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Kristen Torres-Toro said...

SO IMPORTANT! Thanks for this reminder!

3:05 PM  
Blogger Sharon Kirby said...

Very thought-provoking. Unfortunately, I believe Christianity has been moving toward Jesus-less doctrine. Why? My thoughts include these reasons:

1) People don't want to hear about SIN or JUDGMENT or HELL (because people don't want to change their behavior)
2) People want to be entertained, or leave church feeling GOOD and HAPPY (as opposed to convicted and/or challenged)
3) Many churches have changed their METHODS so much, they have lost sight of the MESSAGE

As always, one of the best ways I protect myself and my family is by using the standard of GOD'S WORD - the absolute beacon of Truth. Jesus is the foundation - because Jesus ALONE did what we could not - He didn't just make us feel good or act better - He SAVED us.


10:16 PM  
Blogger Joanne@ Blessed... said...

Great post! I'm right with ya. I wrote an article a few years ago titled "Jesus-Lite" and sadly things have only gotten worse.

May God keep your words here circulating the Internet until His return. That way, MANY more will see just Who we need most.
Blessings friend! (Say Hi to your sis too!)

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

I am sharing this on FB!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Jennie Allen said...

Wow! So true. We were made for God. Love your thoughts.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Deborah Ann said...

Nicely done, Alisa. We thought we weren't getting enough God in this world, but Jesus is even harder to come by...

4:12 PM  
Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

There's always living water here at Faith Imagined. :)

The empty substitutes for true spirituality have been around since the fall of man. Drawing close to Jesus and staying in the Word will help us identify and avoid those traps.


5:40 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

As always, I love your topic Alisa. God is always right on time with the messages His people need to hear. People need to hear about Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross - without Him, Christianity would just be 'ianity'. ;)

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Tiffany Stuart said...

Great word.

I've shared a talk called "Come to the Water." We are thirsty for something and we do need to keep going to the living, everlasting well. And there we need to drink deeply.

Speaking of water, I'm thirsty.

Happy 2011..

7:19 PM  
Blogger Dakota said...

Hey, I just came across your blog by doing a bit of blog-surfing and I'm glad I did! I've added myself as your newest follower, and I hope you'll check out my Christian devotional site as well:

Have a blessed day!

In Christ,

9:04 PM  
Blogger Toyin O. said...

This is so true Alisa; I posted about something close to this two days ago. There are so many people out there drawn to the positive, no cross, do whatever you want and still make it to heaven christianity. A crucified life is what we are called to live; and following the footstep of our saviour.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Lacey said...

i need some water:)

6:00 PM  
Blogger Amy Sullivan said...

To keep myself in-check spiritually, I surround myself with friends who are solid.

ps You are so right about eating when really we are just thirsty! I've never heard that before.

5:31 PM  
Blogger OceanDreams said...

great post and i think it's important to take time out of each day and pray, be focused on Christ, and fill up your water! if we can fill up our water through God then we can begin to point them in the right direction as well! i admit it's easy to get caught up in things that can take my focus off of my heavenly father, the Enemy is great at doing that. but i have to remember that God is always stronger and provides hope! thank you for a lovely post!

1:20 AM  
Blogger Tonya said...

This is something that I've been seeing a lot of lately, even in the church. There seems to be an attempt to keep Jesus out of things because it can be "offensive". But no man can come to the father except through Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the light (John 14:6).

12:23 AM  
Blogger Just Be Real said...

Great writing. Full of truth. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

3:02 PM  

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