(This article originally appeared on the Texas Baptist web site.)
Ethical living and spiritual living are linked; they both connect the believer to the world beyond himself or herself. The spiritual connects one to God, and the ethical deals with how one lives with others.
Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray continually. Structured prayer is difficult for many of us, but we can still cultivate a spirit of continual prayer — simply praying as we go about our daily activities.
When a person “practices the presence of God,” to quote Brother Lawrence, it is as if God becomes a friend, a companion who goes with you to all places and through all moments. A cynic could say that we are only silently conversing with ourselves. Maybe so, but this internal friend often challenges us, calls us up abruptly from selfish, prideful, greedy, lustful and hurtful thoughts and behavior. This friend never brings us down; this friend calls us to something higher. This friend seems to bring something from beyond oneself into oneself.
“The Word of God is alive,” says a Casting Crowns song, “and it cuts like a sword through the darkness with a message of life to the hopeless . . . bringing life to all who believe.” The song is speaking of the written Word — the Bible. I think of it more broadly, as the Word referring to Jesus and to the His Spirit within each of us.
God’s Spirit is alive inside the believer. This Spirit cuts through the darkness of the world even though not completely dispersing the night of evil, sin, pain and hurt. The Spirit brings hope to the hopeless, and we are all hopeless at times. The Spirit brings life, and we all feel spiritually, mentally and emotionally dead at times. Life wins when it is invested with love — love that flows from God to us and from us to each other.