A Divine Orientation
Holistic Spirituality may sound like a good candidate for a New Age book title, but as long as we define our terms, words like “meditation,” “contemplation,” “spirituality,” and “holistic” are useful and meaningful tools. Some use the word “holistic” in a somewhat pantheistic sense to describe the unity of all things, but the more standard philosophical meaning of holism is that nature synthesizes entities into organized wholes that are greater than the sum of their parts. For example, human beings are more than highly organized collections of atoms, molecules, cells, organs, and systems. None of these fully account for our minds, affections, and wills, let alone our capacity to relate to the timeless spiritual Being who created us.
There is more to us than we know, and in us, God combines the material and the immaterial into a prodigious unity of activity. Since this is so, the perennial human quest to seek meaning in material goods and achievements always leads in the end to disappointment and dissatisfaction. We were meant for more than created goods; we were meant to find our meaning and purpose in the uncreated Creator of all things. There is something in all of us—even when we try to suppress it—that points beyond the created order because it longs for more than the world can ever offer.
Those who do not know God are bound to integrate themselves downward by seeking their identity in the elementary principles of this world (Colossians 2:8, 20). Those who have come to know God, or rather to be known by God (Galatians 4:9a; 1 Corinthians 8:3), have begun to integrate themselves upward though they are still tempted to “turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things” that formerly enslaved them (Galatians 4:9b). If we were created to please God by knowing and enjoying Him, we will never be whole and complete unless we orient our lives around Him and define ourselves in terms of our relationship with Him.
Movement toward divine orientation is a lifelong process that is never completed in this world but contributes to our preparation for the life of heaven. As followers of the Way, we should grow in our realization that we are pilgrims and wayfarers in this world, and that our true citizenship is in the heavenly realm (Philippians 3:20). The more serious we are about our heavenly calling, the more we become aware of the tension caused by the allurements and entanglements of our earthly condition. Many believers have inadvertently resolved this tension by compartmentalizing their lives. They do this by treating their relationship with Christ as a component of their lives along with other components such as family, work, and finances. This compartmentalization fosters a dichotomy between the secular and the spiritual, so that the spiritual becomes something we do on certain occasions such as church, Bible studies, and devotional times. The assumption here is that the more of these things we do, the more spiritual we are.
By contrast, holistic spirituality stresses the centrality of Christ and His relevance to every component of our lives. This biblical alternative to a compartmentalization mentality focuses on the implications of Christ’s lordship over every aspect of life in such a way that even the most mundane components of life can become expressions of the life of Christ in us. In this way, the various “secular” arenas of life become spiritual to the extent that we surrender them to the lordship of Christ. In this holistic approach, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and the parts are increasingly related to the whole. There is no component of life that should remain untouched by the dominion of Jesus.
Taken from Ken Boa’s Handbook to Spiritual Growth
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