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An Unenlightened Concept

During the Enlightenment, a concept was birthed that said some activities (i.e. church, ministry, Bible study, missions, etc.) were holy and “God-oriented” and other activities (i.e “real life” activities like jobs, school, business, economics, government etc.) were worldly and inherently devoid of Kingdom purpose. This produced a great fracture in our thinking that dictates our perspectives right up to this very day. It abdicates us from the responsibiltiy to conduct ourselves in a godly way in all parts of our life. Under this concept we can say, “Well, we don’t have to be completely honest in our business because it’s not ‘Kingdom’ work.” We are allowed to lead two distinct lives:

  • Our “secular” life, where we can base our decisions exclusively on our own wants, needs, opinions and circumstances
  • Our “sacred” life, where we go to church every Sunday, sing in the choir, lead Bible study and go on missions trips to further the Kingdom

The foundational flaw with this concept is that it stands in stark contrast to Paul’s words in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Fractured Thinking

If we are going to live the full life that Jesus died to give us, it is imperative that we get rid of this type of fractured thinking. This division is literally like the yeast Jesus warned us about – it works its way through the entire lump of dough. The sacred/secular split is so insidious and deceptive that it can come up in normal conversation between passionate followers of Christ and they won’t even realize what they’re saying. For example, how many times have you heard someone talk about being in “full-time ministry?” If we’re following the words of Paul, then everything we do as followers of Christ is ministry, whether to others or to the Lord. Or what about those people who “become” missionaries? The mandate of the Great Commission to go and make disciples applies to all believers, so we are all missionaries as soon as we accept Christ. This paradigm has led to so much division within the Church and must be undone if we are to have any meaningful move toward actual unity.

Diversity in the Body of Christ is a thing of beauty – and absolutely necessary if we are to live and love as Jesus taught us. Division, however, is the tool of the enemy to keep us from accomplishing God’s will on earth and the sacred/secular split is one of the biggest tools of division the Church has ever faced.

Renewing Our Minds

How do we get rid of this paradigm? I think the key lies in inviting God into various aspects of our everyday life (ideally every aspect). The ancient Celtic Christians held to a far more wholistic view of their spiritual lives than we do today. They invited God into “mundane” everyday moments because they believed that those moments were just as holy as attending church on Sunday. They developed prayers that they would say for things like tending the fire of the home, or churning butter. By creating a space for God in those everyday tasks, they kept Him at the forefront of their minds and lives.

This kind of renewal takes practice and faithfulness, but I think it is crucial to helping us abandon the sacred/secular split and embrace life the way God intended. As we do, I’m confident we will see Holy Spirit move in ways we only dreamed of and the doors to bring God’s kingdom to earth will fling wide with opportunity!

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