Avoiding Compartmentalization

In the quiet of the morning, my hope (like yours perhaps) is to hear a word from God. God always has the first word. Must have the first word. Prayer is simply answering speech–though we often get it backward, insisting we have the first word of the day.

Scripture’s task, as Eugene Peterson writes, is “to tell people, at the risk of their displeasure, the mystery of God and the secrets of their own hearts.” It must work like an ice-ax to break the frozen sea inside us. Occasionally lead to something penitential, like Josiah’s experience, where we rip clothes apart. More, a fresh reading of God’s word should anchor us in God, immerse us in the sense of his reality, and align our life practices with his will.  

It’s a critical alignment, as Evelyn Underhill (The Spiritual Life), notes–

“Most of our conflicts and difficulties come from trying to deal with the spiritual and practical aspects of our lives separately instead of realizing them as parts of one whole. If our practical lives are…

-centered on our own interests

-cluttered up by possessions

-distracted by ambitions, passions, wants, and worries

-beset by a sense of our own rights and importance or anxieties for our own future, or longings for our own success

…we need not expect that our spiritual lives will be a contrast to all of this.

The soul’s house is not built on such a convenient plan: there are few soundproof partitions in it.” 

In an age where so many compartmentalize their faith, we need to come back to these words. Life is a summons to live in partnership with God, an inseparable moment-by-moment union in which we do all that we do because of who God is and what he does.

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