I recently saw a blog post with a lot of suggestions to put on your spiritual bucket list. The items and tasks covered practices and beliefs from most of the principle world religions. I admittedly come from an entirely Christian perspective, and if you’re reading this, my guess is you do, too. The list actually thrilled me and defeated me at the same time.
Why did it thrill me?
Because the solution to all of the questions (“Why is there suffering in the world?” and “Is there life after death?”), the heart of all of the tasks (“Find inner peace,” and “Heal your past”) is found through access to the Father through Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6).
Why did the list defeat me?
Because true spirituality cannot be accomplished or cultivated through a bucket list, but only through Jesus Christ alone – and many members of the church focus on the list part, and many members of the world can’t get past the “through Jesus Christ alone” part (another post for another time).
The Pharisees checked off every single item on their metaphorical Jewish list. Bring sacrifices to the temple of the Lord? Check. Don’t work on the Sabbath? Check. Don’t commit adultery? Check. Wear Scripture on your forehead? Check?
But their sacrifices didn’t come from the heart, they often committed adultery in their hearts, and Scripture in the head doesn’t always mean Scripture in the heart.
I’m Type A about school. I like lists, I like checking things off my lists, and sometimes I write things down that I’ve already done just so I can check it off my list (walk my dog? Check). It’s hard for me to wrap my busy, Type A mind around the fact that spirituality through a living, breathing relationship with the Lord our Creator cannot be minimized to a list or even afternoon in my planner.
Now – does Jesus require certain things of us as Christians, such as praying, giving, and serving? Absolutely. Is it wrong to plan and set aside time to privately study the word and pray? Absolutely not. I believe this honors God.
But to delegate Christ to only a certain part of your day, instead of mindfully focusing on Him in everything you do, is how even a seasoned Christian can become a checklist Christian. This is so hard for me!
So, I have a few suggestions for a “spiritual bucket list.” THIS IS NOT A CHECKLIST, but a way to evaluate ourselves in our walk with the Lord. There is nothing measurable about these items, but if the answer is not a clear “yes” (mine aren’t!), then we need to begin practicing these things to grow our relationship with God.
- Are you praying? Not just a quick prayer before a meal or bed, but truly praying by talking with and listening to the Lord?
- Are you reading the Word?
- Are you meditating on the Word?
- Are you telling others about Christ?
- If someone followed you around for a week, would it be obvious to that person that you identify as a committed follower of Jesus Christ?
- Do you honor God with your thoughts?
- Do you honor God with your words?
- Do you honor God with your actions?
- Do your friends know you are a committed Christian? How? What about your coworkers? Teachers?
- Are you living as if you believe Christ could return at any minute?
- What activity did you spend the most time on this week? Do you think God would be pleased with that?
- Are you living so sacrificially that it hurts you, but honors God?
- Are you living as if you have the Holy Spirit of God inside you (because you do)?
- Are you ready to give a personal and Scriptural account to someone who asks why you are a believer?
Think on these. Meditate on these. And go do something about it if every single answer is not a resounding “yes.” I don’t know about you, but I need to get busy.