Consider D. A. Carson’s concluding reflection from his exposition of 1 Cor. 2:6-16 in The Cross and Christian Ministry (pp. 62-63):
What it means to be “spiritual” is profoundly tied to the cross, and to nothing else… This lesson is especially important when so many Christians today identify themselves with some “single issue” (a concept drawn from politics) other than the cross, other than the gospel. It is not that they deny the gospel. If pressed, they will emphatically endorse it. But their point of self-identification, the focus of their minds and hearts, what occupies their interest and energy, is something else: a style of worship, the abortion issue, home schooling, the gift of prophecy, pop sociology, a certain brand of counseling, or whatever. Of course, all of these issues have their own importance. Doubtless we need some Christians working on them full time. But even those who are so engaged must do so as an extension of the gospel, as an extension of the message of the cross. They must take special pains to avoid giving any impression that being really spiritual or really insightful or really wise turns on an appropriate response to their issue.
I agree with Carson that we must make the cross, the message of the crucified Messiah, the center of our self-identification. How often have I used a litmus test issue to judge another Christian and identify myself with a certain group? Some of the loudest amens are heard in churches when a pet issue is reinforced. These are the verbal “slaps on each other’s backs” by the more spiritual. But where are the amens when the gospel is proclaimed?
There are varying degrees of maturity among believers, but not varying degrees of spirituality. Every believer is spiritual because he/she has the Spirit. One believer is not more spiritual than the other. And the spiritual understand “what God has freely given us” (1 Cor 2:12). We understand the message of the cross! Praise God for that kind of “spirituality.” As Carson concludes:
We must recognize that what it means to be wise, what it means to be spiritual, is to embrace, by the help of God’s Spirit, the message of the crucified Messiah.