My Grace-Full Life: The Danger of Compartmentalizing Christianity

There’s a saying all organized people love, “a place for everything and everything in its place.”  Compartmentalizing helps us stay organized, but sometimes, we tend to compartmentalize relationships.  It’s not always a bad thing—we go to her for this, him for that, and her for the other thing.  But that’s compartmentalizing based on a skill set…very important in work situations.

Personally, I have a very bad habit of compartmentalizing my family.  As a control freak, I like the security of knowing where there are and what they are doing.  Selfishly, I want the freedom to go about what I’m doing, but I want them waiting exactly where I left them.  I know that it’s grossly unfair, but I’m very protective of them.  The Holy Spirit has to constantly remind me to remember Who is really in charge.

But what about when we compartmentalize our faith? We go to church on Sunday, then we leave it all right there until we go back the next week. Would we be recognized as the hands and feet of Christ if we were outside the walls of the church?

The term we’re discussing is Compartmentalized Christianity.

Some of the primary ways Christian’s compartmentalize is through:

  • Never speaking to others about Jesus;
  • Never reading the Bible outside of the church;
  • Never praying outside of the church.

And why do we compartmentalize?  Some of the primary reasons:

  • We were taught that it’s rude to talk about religion;
  • We don’t want to offend others who don’t share our belief;
  • We think God is too busy to care about our mundane details;
  • We don’t understand the Bible, so we give up, leaving it up to those who attended seminary and are church leaders to explain things.

But faith isn’t just about religion.  Christian faith is about a relationship.  And when we talk about compartmentalizing people, well….   Friends, Jesus doesn’t belong on a shelf.  As our Savior, He has more than earned the right to be a part of every facet of our lives.

1 Peter 1:16 NLT says, “For the Scriptures state, ‘You must be holy because I am holy.’”It doesn’t say, “Be holy on Sunday and at Wednesday night choir practice.” It simply says, “Be.” “Be” is an active word that is in the moment. It is a verb in the present tense.

Here we are given another in-the-moment word—“Are.”   Present tense.  But we can’t be a light to the world if we leave the candle sitting in our favorite pew each Sunday. And oh, how our world needs our bright lights for Jesus!

Paul piggybacked on the words of Jesus when he wrote in Philippians 2:15b, “Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”

That’s exactly what we need and exactly why compartmentalizing our Christianity is dangerous! When we separate our Christian lives only when we’re with other believers, how will we be able to show the love of Jesus to others?   When we put the faith we profess on a shelf, how can we truly practice the Great Commission Jesus gave every Christian in Matthew 28:16-20?

The compartmentalized Christian doesn’t live up to his or her full potential in Jesus when they separate their faith from the rest of their lives. I’m not saying we should be beating people with our Bibles, but when we live beyond the compartments, the Holy Spirit can use us to produce great fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”Y’all, I love the last line of these verses—“there is no law against these things!”That still holds true 2000 years later! It’s not a crime to exhibit any of these wonderful qualities!

While we’re going to continue compartmentalizing certain aspects of our life, let’s not compartmentalize our Christianity.  Let your life shine brightly for Jesus and reflect the fruits the Holy Spirit is growing in each of us!  Can there be any better praise to God than living for Him in all we do? No matter where we are, or who we’re with, or what we’re doing—if we are doing it to His glory, He is honored and we have let our light shine for the world to see!


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