Spiritual Bucket List

As Christians we’re always striving to seek some semblance of a closer connection with God in our daily lives. Whether it’s through our prayers, our readings of Scripture or weekly attendances at church, it’s all a means to which we try to get closer to God. One day I found myself pondering for more ways to get closer to God, and I recalled some occurrences in Scripture that I thought would be a uniquely spiritual experience to have with God someday. Perhaps after reading you may consider trying to attempt these experiences in your lifetime in an effort to have a deeper connection with God.

Gardening

Now your first thought might be how is gardening a unique spiritual experience that would connect you with God. Well, if you reflect on man’s creation in Genesis, you may recall the first purpose that man was given by God. Genesis 2:15 states, “15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” As you can see here, God’s first purpose for man was to cultivate and keep the land. Now if you look at the meaning of the Hebrew words for cultivate and keep, they mean to work and watch over the land. Now to be clear that the work to be done was gardening, we can look back a few verses earlier that add further clarification. Genesis 2:5 states, “Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.” So no shrub or plant was yet on the earth, because God had not sent rain and He’d not sent man to cultivate (work) the ground, or seemingly in other words, to garden. So consider making an attempt at gardening someday as a scriptural spiritual experience with God. If you’re feeling particularly desirous to be authentic to the experience, you might also consider doing this in the nude. Though of course I would caution you to make sure your gardening area is completely secluded and if you’re going to have a partner with you, it can only be with your spouse.

Baptism in the Jordan River

This unique spiritual experience is a little more obvious. As you may be familiar with what happened in the beginning of the New Testament, John the Baptist was preaching repentance because the kingdom of heaven was at hand, and he baptized people in the Jordan River. Matthew 3:6 states, “and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” One other thing significant about potentially seeking this spiritual experience in your life someday, is the fact that our very Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was baptized in these exact waters. Matthew 3:13-17 states, “13 Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” So if possible, putting in obvious consideration of safety precautions and any current travel warnings taking a trip to Israel, perhaps you can one day have an amazing spiritual experience being baptized in the same water Jesus was.

Praying all night

Few verses highlight the importance of prayer to God more so than the verses detailing the moments Jesus prayed. Jesus would tend to go outside alone to pray with God. One such instance Jesus chose to spend a whole night in prayer with God. Luke 6:12 states, “It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.” Now what’s also interesting about his praying all night is what Jesus did after he prayed. He called his disciples to Him and chose twelve of them to be Apostles. This perhaps further emphasizes the importance of prayer that such a major decision that would be impactful to the movement of Christianity was done right after Jesus was in prayer with God for a night. So it would seem it would be quite a unique spiritual experience one day, whether we’re in the midst of making a major decision or not, to go outside, maybe even near a mountain if one is near you if you want, and spend a whole night in prayer with God. This scriptural spiritual experience in particular is one I really hope to do someday.

Anointing with oil

I find the anointing with oil seems to be a practice that’s perhaps long since been forgotten and ignored in most churches today. Of all the different gatherings of the body of Christ that I’ve attended in my life, I’ve only seen two church gatherings employ the anointing of the oil within their services. One of them did so incorrectly with the Pastor being the only one doing the anointing, but the other church I’m happy to say did do so correctly, with the elders of the church surrounding the person needing the healing. Originally in the Old Testament anointing oil was generally used for consecration (Lev 8:10), which means to make sacred. In the New Testament, it was used to help with healing. Mark 6:13 states, “And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.” For the purposes of within the church, James 5:14 illustrates how it’s to be done by stating, “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;”

Now it’s a bit tricky to understand this verse, because in the larger context of the passage it would seem to be talking about forgiveness of sins and being saved if you read the verses after. I got into an interesting discussion with someone proclaiming the ideology of “name and claim it” faith, and they used this verse as proof of that ideology being Scriptural, but they couldn’t be intellectually honest about the potential larger context of the verse. Something else worth noting additionally, the Greek word used for oil means olive oil, which can be used for medicinal purposes much like the wine Paul instructed Timothy to use in settling one’s stomach (1 Timothy 5:23).  So this verse may be proof not of miraculous healing, but that God wants people to take whatever medicine He has given us for our natural healing. But to conclude on this portion, if you’re ever sick again someday, perhaps you can embrace the scriptural spiritual experience of being prayed and anointed with oil by elders at your church.

Conclusion

I compiled these ideas based on the pondering of my own knowledge of Scripture, but perhaps you know of other actions or neglected instructions in Scripture that could be a uniquely scriptural spiritual experience to maybe reenact in one’s life someday. I emphasize scriptural, because much of today’s culture tends to define spiritual experiences on it’s own terms, but we as Christians know that real spirituality only comes from the Word of God. As always, questions, comments, and thoughts are always welcome. I’d love to hear if any of you have tried these suggestions, or if you have unique suggestions of your own spiritual bucket list to share. Peace to all those who are in Christ.

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