“The bird whose right wing flutters to soar while the left beats its way downward falls to the earth. Both wings must be plumed for rarefied atmospheres and upward flight.” – Mary Baker Eddy
Some years ago, a man and his wife lived in a wooded area. Near their driveway were two slender pine trees. One winter they had a heavy, wet snowfall, and under the load of snow, both trees bent low to the ground. When the snow was gone, they remained bent over, so the man took ropes and tied them back to a larger tree to restore them to their upright position. The ropes just stayed there.
Several years later, there was another heavy, wet snowfall. The rope on one of the pines held firm, keeping the lower part of the trunk rigid. Right above the point where it was tied, this whole tree snapped off with the weight of snow. But the rope on the other tree broke, so that tree was free to bend. And although it again bent low to the ground, it was firmly rooted and remained whole. A firm foundation combined with flexibility saved that tree. Firmness without flexibility caused the other to snap off.
Hence the need for balance.
Our lives are often like these pine trees – we thrive because of balance. The balance between firmness and flexibility, the balance between strength and gentleness, and ultimately, the balance between spirituality and practicality.
As John 1:16 said, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
As Christians, it’s sometimes hard for us to choose which one of those traits – spirituality or practicality – to use at which times. We either become too spiritual with our heads up in the clouds, or too practical with our feet way below the ground, not on it. We’re either airborne or underground – not in-between.
An old quote I saw once said, “Keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground.” And while that’s certainly true, I believe it’s easier said than done.
So how can we continue thinking logically to help practical, real-world situations while also keeping a spiritual walk and relationship with God? In this article, I will give you the reasons of why we should think both spiritually and practically, and I will tell you how we can judge as much as possible when to be spiritual in a situation and when to be practical.
- Why We Should Think Spiritually.
There are many reasons for why we should think and live spiritually. After all, we are spiritual beings at our core. Many Scriptures teach this to us. In Galatians 5:16, Apostle Paul instructs us, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” In Romans 8:6, we are told that “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” And by “carnally-minded,” he means a mind governed by the flesh. Even Romans 8:13 says, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
So, we are seeing this pattern a lot here: Spirituality is important. So important, in fact, that we are instructed to live spiritually.
Spirituality, in a general outlook on life, also has a lot of physical benefits. When one is spiritual and has a good walk with God, they are automatically more grateful, compassionate, and self-actualized. Ryan T. Howell Ph.D. explained this in his article on Psychology Today when he wrote, “Psychology has demonstrated that expressing gratitude is associated with many positive emotions such as optimism, being generous with time and resources, and overall vitality. Spirituality encourages people to be positive, which may be expressed in many of these life practices.”
He went on to explain that spiritual people are exceedingly good at being compassionate. “Experiencing compassion toward others is one of the strongest correlates with living a spiritual life. A variety of positive or pro-social emotions have strong links to [being spiritual], including allowing one to feel good about the little things in life and look at the world through empathetic eyes.”
Above all, it’s important to be spiritual because that’s how we have our walk and relationship with God.
But that doesn’t mean we should abandon practicality by replacing it with spirituality.
- Why We Should Think Practically.
Reverend Jim Nochta used to say, “We can become so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” And it’s true – sometimes, we can think so spiritually about certain scenarios that we block logic and practicality; and oftentimes, we require logic and practicality.
Just as Jim Gerrish said, “…The two things we must keep in balance are the natural and the spiritual. Both are vitally important to us.”
There was a story about a young girl. This girl loved to read, and every day she would use all her spare time reading and reading. As the years went by, she realized that she could create books just like the ones she loved to read – she could become a writer. She was thrilled with the thought of writing and had so many book ideas that she had to write them all down or she’d forget. She then said to herself, “I’m going to write a book and publish it in a year!” But she didn’t write anything. She just thought and thought, dreaming and dreaming, hoping and hoping – waiting for inspiration.
The next year, do you know what happened to her? Absolutely nothing. Her life was just the same as it was before, full of hope but devoid of work; full of dreams but devoid of action.
As famous author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
And to expand even further on that, James 2:26 tells us, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
In addition, James 2:15-16 says, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”
So, it’s clear to see that even in the Bible, being practical is deemed important. Yes, it’s important to be full of faith (spirituality), but if there are no works (practicality), then the faith is no good. So clearly, we must use both traits – spirituality and practicality – side-by-side. They are not opposites like “good vs. evil” or “hot vs. cold”: They work together for the common good. Just like David C. Driver put it, “[The two traits] may seem like pairs of opposites. Yet these qualities are not opposed to each other. Rather, they complement each other.”
So, use the two together, in harmony, for different reasons and at different times. When dealing with spiritual things, deal with them spiritually. Pray about them and let God guide your heart. But when dealing with practical things, deal with them practically. Help people physically rather than just wishing them well like in James 2:15-16 – act in those cases, in addition to prayer. If something is physically broken, fix it physically. And above all, remember that both spirituality and practicality have been given by God to facilitate helping people. They are not polar opposites; they are simply two ways for you to continue to rock your life and help others’ lives.
You Rock, Dream Big, and You Got This!
– Arianna Fox,
14-Year-Old Girlpreneur, Double Published and Bestselling Author, Motivational Speaker, Voiceover Talent, Actress, and Teen Influencer
@afoxauthor on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (Arianna Fox on LinkedIn and YouTube)