8 Reasons Why We're Spiritual

May 20th, 2011
Photo © Xerones | Flickr | Used under Creative Commons license.

It would be nice to think that you and I pursue a relationship with God (or a connection with something greater than ourselves) merely for unselfish reasons, but that's usually not the case. In general, I have found that most of us are spiritual because we are motivated by one of the following reasons:

1. Purpose - believing in God gives us purpose and direction in our lives. It helps us to know that we are here for a reason and perhaps guided by a loving deity.

2. Power - being spiritual gives us some sort of power over others (the power church/religious/political leaders hold over others) or inner-power (more confidence, strength, etc.). This power could be desired for selfish or unselfish reasons.

3. Pardon - we pursue God because we believe our sins/failings/wrongdoings will be forgiven. This relieves our guilt and shame.

4. Paradise - we accept belief/dogma because we think it will lead us into some sort of heaven or nirvana during or after our natural lives are over. This hope may lead us into terrible selfishness (suicide bomber) or incredible generosity (giving away our possessions).

5. Peace - we want to know God because we believe it is the only way to attain the peace we desire. This peace allows us to feel that everything will ultimately turn out okay in our lives.

6. Prosperity - at times known as the "Health and Wealth Gospel," our faith is motivated by the understanding that God rewards our faith with material wealth or personal success here on earth.

7. Parents - we desire to please or placate our parents by trying to duplicate their faith or the faith they wish we had.

8. Praise - we legitimately feel that God/a divine reality is worthy of praise and that leads us to pursue that divine reality for God's sake alone.

So, which of these motivates you to pursue a spiritual life? Don't be hard on yourself if your pursuit turns out to be selfish, because if that selfishness leads you to God, perhaps it is in fact from God. Let us know which motivates you, or if you have some other reasons to add to the list.

Thanks for pursuing spirituality with me. I've loved reading your comments, and believe it or not, they really help and inspire me.

Jay Cooper is the pastor of Jacob's Well, a new United Methodist Church plant in Chandler, AZ. He blogs at Souls Gone Wild. (Photo Credit: Xerones | Flickr)

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