Notes to Pilgrims #10
If you’ve grown up in a Christian family or have spent a good deal of your growing-up years attending a Christian church or school, then likely you’ve been taught to arrange life priorities in (give or take) the following order:
- Family/Loved ones
However, anyone who has ever tried to keep to such a list would soon tell you that while it looks good on paper, usually real life is not so simple. Christians get busy too, you see. And soon enough the concerns of numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5, soon drown out number 1. Now I’m here to suggest that such a scheme of prioritizing not only is counterproductive (because it’s near impossible to do, humanly speaking) but it’s also doesn’t seem to square with the Bible’s teaching on the matter.
You see the Bible does not allow for God to be compartmentalized in the same manner that other duties and relationships could be. I mean compartmentalization is a neat way that we humans cope with the many different concerns and relationships that we have. It gives us the ability to differentiate between various responsibilities and roles. And in that it is helpful. But God is not just another responsibility or duty. He is either at the center of it all or He’s not. And if He’s not then we run into a problem called idolatry. The pervading sacred-secular duality in our collective consciousness is not helpful on this point either. Such an idea would have us believe that there are certain spheres of life where God is properly situated (i.e. the sacred/spiritual; or in philosophical terms, the noumenal) while there are other spheres of life where He’s not (i.e. the secular; and more increasingly the so-called scientific).
In one of his letters to the believers in Corinth, Paul urges, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) With the most mundane of human actions Paul illustrates the imperative for believers to ensure that everything they do leads to honoring God. It’s not so much as allocating a regular “God-time” (e.g. Sundays) in our schedules to do “God-things” (e.g. Worship at Church) that God demands. He wants to be in our every-time. At the center of all that we are and do. In fact if we recall the Greatest Commandment, we are to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, strengths, and minds. (Luke 10:27) This command demands that we keep God always at the center of our all. But who can do that? Isn’t the Bible’s requirement then even more exacting and impossible than the ‘put God first in all things’ scheme? Exactly.
But in answer to who can do it, we must turn to the Son. Jesus Christ alone was able to put God at the very center of His entire life. He fulfilled the demands of the law perfectly so that we who could not might have the merits of His life credited to us when we repent of our self-sufficiency and unite ourselves to Him by faith. And then when we are in Christ and His Spirit in us, then can we begin to truly live all of life with Christ—our savior and God—at the center. When we realize that it is the Spirit of God who so graciously enables us to do all to His glory, we are freed from the tyranny of idolatry brought about by a false sacred-secular duality.
—Pastor James (firstname.lastname@example.org)