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Compartmentalization

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“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.”Romans 11:36

Because of the pressing need to clean out our attic and closets, I have been diligently going through boxes and old clothing. In a desperate attempt to “get organized,” I have been putting memorabilia in one container, usable clothes in another, setting aside paperwork to be shredded, making a pile of some books to take to the library sale, filling bags of give-aways to drop off at the thrift shore, choosing old (but cherished) toys to be washed—you know . . . . anyone who has ever moved is familiar with this drill.

Have you ever felt like your life could be put into different compartments, or “piles”, too? Time at the job, activities at church, helping the kids and getting them to their activities, working-out at the gym, keeping up with current events, chores around the house, reading a book or studying a lesson, paying the bills, helping someone with a project, communicating with the family, errands and shopping when necessary, oh—and hopefully a quiet time with the Lord. . . . the list can go on and on so that we often feel like we’re being pulled in a million directions. Some describe this as wearing different “hats”, so that it appears that we are addressing one role at one time and then “changing hats” to manage another role at another time. And during deployment this all gets more complex as we take on additional (and maybe unfamiliar) duties and roles.

Is that what the Bible teaches? Are we really so segmented in our lives—so compartmentalized in what we have and what we do? I think it is wise to remind ourselves that it all belongs to the Lord—everything we are, everything we have, everything we do, everything we think, everything we say. There really isn’t “spiritual” and “secular”—it’s all His. Join with me a moment while we look at what the Bible has to say about some of the different areas of our lives:

What is spiritual about our job? “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

What is spiritual about marriage? “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:21-28)

What is spiritual about money and possessions? “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5)

What is spiritual about our health and pure behavior? “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

What is spiritual about our attitude? “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:5-7)

What is spiritual about government and politics? “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” (Romans 13:1)

What is spiritual about our appearance? “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)

What is spiritual about time? “But I trust in You, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands. . . “ (Psalm 31:14-15a)

What is spiritual about education? “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.” (Proverbs 18:15)

What is spiritual about doing good? “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

What is spiritual about physical fitness? “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8)

In summary, it’s all about Him—not about us. Colossians 1:16-17 (in the NIV) says, “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” And these same verses from The Message read, “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment.”

We may feel like we have many “compartments” in our life which are not connected, but the truth is that it is all His. Knowing that, we can come to Him humbly and seek His will in everything.

Questions to share:

1. What things in my life do I consider to be under God’s control?

2. What things in my life have I considered to be out of God’s control, but now realize that they are totally in His hands? Once you acknowledge these, ask for forgiveness and submit to His will in prayer.

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