In modern society, so many of us who believe tend to seek to compartmentalize our lives.
We like differing aspects of our lives packed, neatly, into separate boxes, more or less firmly walled off from each other.
This enables us to keep a degree of separation between those parts of ourselves and of our lives that we’d rather not touch. For instance, we believe our problems at work should not come home. Our family lives should not lap too much into our professional pursuits. And our personal pursuits are the business of no one else.
Our pursuit of God is similarly affected. Driven by a belief in a separation of God and culture, and of faith and the society at large, it’s a big reason why any public mention of Christianity, beyond the trite and mundane, is discouraged today, if not prohibited or threatened with persecution outright.
Just think what the fallout and damage to our careers and reputations could be if anybody ever connected the dots on us, and figured out who we really are!
But while this belief in keeping our faith neatly in its Sunday morning box can be detrimental to our culture, it also infects our thinking, causing even those of us who may be more diligent in what we believe to be pursuing God to miss out on the fullness of all that God wishes to do for us.
Ask any even nominally confessing Christian what the Bible means when it commands us to “seek God,” and you will get some combination of prayer, Bible study and attending church. Some might even throw in some ministry activity, like volunteering in kids church or nursery or even on the parking lot attendant team (Shameless plug: Please prayerfully consider volunteering for such rewarding ministry activities. We need you! And – bonus - you’ll love it.)
But while God certainly commands us to do all of these things, we must take care, lest we limit Him *only* to those moments and activities.
Last week, we discussed The Call – Jesus walking along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, calling His fisherman friends to lay down their nets and following Him. And they did, walking closely enough with their Teacher and Master, their Rabbi, to gradually become more and more like Him, and eventually being set loose upon an unsuspecting world, turning it upside down and changing the very course of history.
Similarly, Jesus walks along the shores of our life, walking to where we are, busily plugging away at our to-do lists, attending to whatever our functional equivalent of cleaning and mending commercial fishing nets may be. And he calls to us, asking us to lay them down and follow Him.
Yet, for us, this is no call to a monastery. We are to remain in the world, even as we separate ourselves from it, becoming less the people we were, and more and more like The One we profess to love and serve.
As Pastor Josh Nguyen share with us this Sunday, that means we can’t just limit God to the box we like to keep Him in: Sunday worship services, volunteer service and even daily quiet times of prayer, study and meditation.
All of those things are important, if not essential, to maintaining a close walk with the Lord. But God wants us to bring Him into all of our lives, into *every* situation. Yes, even into the chaos we know awaits us when our “quiet times” end and we open the door to our prayer closet and step back out into the world.
Today, don’t separate the chaos of your life from God. Don’t differentiate between “your time” and “God’s time.” Give it all over to Him. Invite Him into the chaos.
Rather than running from the storm, root yourself instead in the True Vine. Abide with Jesus. Let Jesus abide with you.
In the midst of the nonsense, stop. Silence the voices that seek to drown out God’s. You may not be able to control your environment, but call on the Holy Spirit, and watch as His power helps to redirect and reorient your mind and your eyes to the God who loves you more than you know, and who desires to be your all in all.
Today, enter God’s presence. And stay there.
He is with you. Everywhere. Always.