Monday, June 27, 2011

Compartmentalizing our Lives

Many churches work hard to build and instill the Christian faith and life in to their congregants. They do not want to just teach them about the faith, they want to see them live the faith. One of the core reasons why it often appears to fail is that people live compartmentalized lives. This is when our lives are broken into different segments such as our "work" life, "home" life, "school" life, "social" life, "recreation" life, "church" life, and so on.

What often happens is that we hear teaching from the Bible that informs how we should live, think, and align our lives to God's will, but we only apply this to our church life. In other words, we add it to our databank of thoughts and behaviors inside of our church life, but while at home, work, school, and in our social lives, we are left unchanged. This is compartmentalizing our lives.

I hate to say this, and I could be wrong, but I believe a majority of American Christians live this way. 

I know the second I make this statement that most reading this will never put themselves into that category. Most believe they are living their Christian lives just fine, even though there are blatant discrepancies in most other areas of their lives. The Christian faith is an all-encompassing, all-consuming thing. Faith in Jesus is meant to permeate every other area of your life, so that what Christ desires from you becomes the preeminent factor in every other area of life and decisions made in it. So what would be some examples of living a compartmentalized life?

**If you try to be nice to people at church because you are "supposed to," but at work you ignore people that you do not know or new people who are hired, you are living a compartmentalized life

**If you have "church" friends that you act one way around and then "non-church" friends that you act another way around, you are living a compartmentalized life

**If you have the money to dine out regularly, buy vehicles, and take vacations, yet say you do not have the money to honor God by tithing/giving, you are living a compartmentalized life

**If you tell unchurched friends and family they need to be in church, yet you virtually miss the entire summer because you are on the lake or doing other things, you are living a compartmentalized life

**If you engage in a wild and licentious lifestyle on Friday and Saturday nights, but see no contradiction with calling yourself a devoted Christian on Sundays, you are a living a compartmentalized life

These are but a few examples of how it is easy to begin compartmentalizing our lives. We need to repent of this sin. We are not honoring God if we only follow what He wants in some areas of our lives instead of in all areas. God does not want to rent a compartment in our lives, He wants to own the whole thing. When God owns and speaks into every area of your life, then your whole life will reflect a commitment to the things that please God, not just some parts.

Questions: what other ways have you witnessed people compartmentalizing their lives? In what ways have you struggled with this?

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  1. Our family struggles with compartmentalizing absolutely - I thought we had a good grip on it then we had a baby - seems I've been putting her above all (some times you have to but not at all times). Yesterday had I read this post I might have had my feathers ruffled but then God started working on me - its absolutely needed and true.

  2. Misty, I believe all Christians, at different times, will struggle with this. Our natural tendency is to compartmentalize.

    I am glad God is working in you through whatever issue you are dealing with. I pray that all people would take that approach when it comes to these areas of our lives.

    Thanks for commenting

  3. I definitely struggle with this as well! I put my kids first many times in my home life and although I am becoming much better, find myself swaying back to old ways when I surround myself with non-Christians! It is so important to surround yourself with Christians who will hold you accountable in all areas of your life!!!!