Before the crucifixion, Peter had denied the Lord three times. This was the culmination of three-and-a-half disappointing years that he had been with the Lord, during which he had proved himself proud, self-assertive, and prayerless. Yet the Lord, when about to entrust Peter with the feeding of His sheep, made no reference to any of these weaknesses. He did not even challenge him to be humble and prayerful in the future and to witness boldly, facing persecution if need be for the sake of his Lord. No, He did not ask any such questions, although these are indeed the qualifications we should look for in a spiritual man, and especially in one who is to be a leader among God's people.
The Lord Jesus knew that one simple question would be sufficient. If that question found a true response, everything else would automatically follow. "Lovest thou Me more than everything and everyone else?" (John 21:15-17)
Love for Christ is the real test of any man's spirituality.
If a man has attained to high rank in the church, even maybe that of a bishop, we naturally assume that he must be a spiritual man. It need not necessarily be so. It is the new birth and a consequent love for Christ that makes a man spiritual. It is possible today that a bishop of the church may not even have been born again. Possession of a theological degree - or several - is no guarantee of this either. No, not even passage through a soundly evangelical seminary will make a man spiritual! You may be a full-time Christian worker or the pastor of a congregation, but that does not make you a man of God. All too readily, you and I can mistake regular attendance at meetings, or profound Bible-knowledge, or unabated zeal for evangelism as the marks of spirituality. Distinctive dress and a pious look can deceive us too. But none of them is of any account.
The test of genuine spirituality in God's sight is one thing and one only: the extent of your love for Him. Ultimately that is something between you and your Lord alone.
He puts the question: "Lovest thou Me?" and it is for you to find the answer.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon