Compartmentalizing Your Christianity

Author, blogger, and evangelical speaker Paul Tripp offers this unusual challenge.

“The next time you’re standing in your kitchen, bedroom, or at your desk, I want you to look at drawers. Yes, drawers. The place where you store cutlery, clothes, or staplers and pens.”

Tripp then makes the point that too often we compartmentalize our lives like we neatly organize our dresser or kitchen drawers, separating our stuff into various categories.

Drawing on that analogy, we may have one set of drawers for “real life” and another set for our “spiritual life.”

In the “real life” drawers we put our family, friends, careers, health, recreation, possessions, money, and daily tasks lists.

In our “spiritual life” drawers we put church attendance, Bible study, prayer, church contribution, small group involvement, and evangelistic outreach.

The drawers that we open the most are the “real life” drawers. They merit our daily attention and often dominate our thinking. We may even forget about opening the “spiritual life” drawers until Sunday. And maybe not even every Sunday. But only when it’s convenient.

In doing so, we’ve compartmentalized our Christianity. We’ve made it a Sunday thing. Or when we need it or feel like it resource. The rest of the time we go about our days and weeks focusing only on “real-life” issues.

Our faith and its practice and application cannot be neatly separated into a compartment only to be used on certain occasions. Using Tripp’s analogy, “the biblical narrative and worldview only has one drawer—it’s called the gospel in everyday life. Everything goes in that drawer.”

The principles and precepts of the gospel impact, influence, and direct every aspect of our lives. Our family relationships. Our friendships. Our finances. Our future goals. Our faith in “the faith” is the foundation through which all of life is lived.

As a result, we take seriously Jesus’ command to be “the salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-16). Every day. Everywhere. And in every way. Resisting conformity to the world by our spiritual transformation (Rom. 12:1-2) raise our families, engage in our professions, interact with our neighbors, enjoy our leisure time, and spend our money governed by God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and possessing the attitude of Christ (Phil. 2:5).

This worldview even influences how, what and why we post on social media. We don’t divorce our spiritual values from real-life situations. Our thoughts, reflected in our verbal and written words, issue themselves in expressions that are truthful, pure, honorable, admirable, and virtuous (Phil. 4:8).

This concept is the thrust of a book by Joseph Aldrich, “Lifestyle Evangelism.” For the “single drawer” disciple even our evangelistic efforts fit into this drawer.

Aldrich asks, “What kind of person do we want to deploy into the world?” He answers with, “A learning, fellowshipping, worshiping, serving person.” Furthermore, Aldrich adds that for this person “Evangelism…is not a Tuesday night event; he is on duty twenty-four hours a day. His whole life is a living and willing sacrifice, a sweet-smelling savor to God and men.”

What about it? Have you compartmentalized your Christianity? Have you relegated your faith to a drawer that’s only opened on certain occasions? Have you opened it so infrequently, that you can’t even remember which drawer contains it?

L. Nelson Bell was right when he wrote, “If Christianity is really worthwhile it must be something which transforms our lives seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day.”

Finally, as Wanda Brunstetter reminds us, “Remember as you go about your day that you may be the only Jesus some of your friends, neighbors, and family will ever see.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

1 Comment

Filed under Discipleship

One response to “Compartmentalizing Your Christianity

  1. Pingback: Weekly Recap: July 17-22 | ThePreachersWord

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