“Faith without works and works without faith will both alike be condemned, for he who has faith must offer to the Lord the faith which shows itself in actions. … He who loves God both believes truly and performs the works of faith reverently. But he who only believes and does not love, lacks even the faith he thinks he has; for he believes merely with a certain superficiality of intellect and is not energized by the full force of love’s glory. The chief part of virtue, then, id faith energized by love.” ~The Philokalia
I know both of these types of people. There are those who work very hard and think they are due a reserved seat in heaven because of it. But in many cases, not only are they not working according to God’s Divine Plan, but they are working against it, usually without realizing it, of course. The other side of the coin is those people who call themselves spiritual, who read scripture or the latest books from this years popular spiritual writers, yet they do nothing to make themselves or the world around them any more spiritual. That is like thinking you will get rich just by reading a book titled, “How to Make Money”.
Doing work, just any kind of work, isn’t enough. Just studying spiritual growth isn’t enough. You have to combine the two. That doesn’t mean you have to quit your regular, materialistic job and join a convent or monastery. In does mean that as far as possible you work as a servant of God, even when the business isn’t very spiritual. It means you treat your customers and coworkers like people and like children of God. It means you don’t lie and cheat to get what you want. And if you own a business, treat your customers as people, as friends, not marks.
Of course real spiritual growth can only come from regularly doing your spiritual exercises or techniques. You can’t skip them for a few weeks, or make up your own because the techniques developed over thousands of years in real spiritual schools seem too hard or inconvenient. You have to do them regularly and just as your teacher showed you. You can be innovative and creative in many other areas, and developing your spiritual side will help with that, but do not innovate and attempt to modify the techniques for taking in spiritual Light, at lest not until you are an advanced spiritual teacher who communicates with angels and truly knows what he is doing.