Much of everyday life is about compartmentalizing, juggling. We talk about a work/life balance, though many of us see the scales tipping more towards the work side of the equation. But this is how we cope with the busyness of life. Trying to tackle all the responsibility we are shouldered with is more than cumbersome, it’s almost impossible. So we divide our lives into bite-sized pieces.
We have the professional life, the personal life (chock full of romance and mystery, no doubt), the social life, and finally, and most important, I’m sure, we have the spiritual life. This is the compartment dedicated to worship, church attendance, prayer and the like.
God gets a whole category all the to himself. He must be so happy!
On the surface, this seems like a healthy way to live. We can work, play, spend time with our loved ones and round it all out with a focused walk with God. It’s nice. The only problem is it’s not biblical. At all. Not even a bit.
If you don’t consider yourself a believer this might not seem important to you, but the Christian reference for how life works is the Bible. And the scriptures have a lot to say about these topics. If a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat is a biblical statement. The Bible talks about career and relaxation, marriage and friendship, and yes, obviously worship. But the idea is not work life and worship life. They are not sectioned into compartments. According to the scriptures, all of life begins and ends with God.
There is no separation between the secular and the sacred. In other words, everything is spiritual.
Is that a stretch? Let’s look at a few elements of the human experience and see how they relate to God:
- Work. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells us that God “placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it” (Gen. 2:15 NLT). That’s work, and God ordained it. The reason it’s so hard, the reason it often sucks is because mankind tainted it with sin. Therefore, we suffer through blood, sweat, and tears. Still, we are blessed to earn a living. We are also told to do everything as if it were for God himself (Col. 3:23). Translation: Work is an act of worship. Period. (Also see: 1 Thess. 4:11, 2 Thess. 3:10, and Eph. 4:28)
- Relationships. Scripture tells us we are all made in the image of God. So, we should treat people with respect and love. Friendships are opportunities to extend the same love to others God has extended to us, even to the point of sacrificing our lives for them (John 15:12-13). As it relates to marriage, men are to view their wives the same way Christ views the church, worth dying for (Eph. 5:25). Wives should humbly submit to their husband’s leadership like the church submits to the leadership of Christ (Eph. 5:22). This isn’t about men being better or giving them a license to be tools. It’s about both sexes playing the parts we were designed to play. Our relationship to humanity is directly connected to our relationship with God. No exception.
- Food & Entertainment. I love getting a group of friends together and trying a new restaurant. There is something special about sharing a meal with people you love. Even this pertains to the “spiritual” life. Paul told the believers that every thing they eat and drink should be consumed to “the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Say what? Think about it. God provided the earth with the stuff that ended up on your plate, and He gave you the taste buds to enjoy it. He made the way for pulled-pork sandwiches, and for that I am eternally grateful! Mealtime is worship time.
I’m just getting started. But, for your sake I’ll stop here for now. The point is, all of life is spiritual. God doesn’t fit into a neat, little compartment. Sure, we have to schedule life, and keep work at work, focus on our families, but if we understand that it all points to God we can experience these things on a deeper, more beautiful level. God isn’t interested in a compartment or a Sunday morning prayer. He wants your whole life. Every boring detail.
Do you tend to compartmentalize your “spiritual” life? Tag in on the comments below.