Compartmentalizing

People love compartments. A storage compartment in your vehicle? Certainly. A compartment in the kitchen for utensils? Of course. A compartment for office supplies? Yes, please.


People love compartments. Perhaps it could be said, therefore, that most people love to compartmentalize. This goes over here and that goes over there. Associated with the notion of compartmentalization is the notion of specialization. In other words, I don’t want my kitchen stuff with the office stuff. They each have a special task, so they each have a special compartment.


We tend to compartmentalize our lives as well. It is common for people to talk about setting goals in the areas of health, relationships, finances, etc. While this has its place, and it certainly can be a helpful way of approaching tasks, there is also a danger. The danger is that we can fail to see how everything fits together. Life is not a series of simple and separate compartments. Instead, it’s more like a ball of yarn, in which pulling the thread on one side results in the other side moving.


Suppose that you get up in the morning and intend to eat a healthy breakfast. But you realize the food you wanted has spoiled. You’re frustrated and you end up having a short fuse with the people around you. Eventually, you just go out to eat for breakfast and forget the healthy idea  altogether. Your intention to have a healthy start to the day ended up with strained relationships, unhealthy food, and more money spent than you had planned. One tug on the yarn caused everything else to move.


Similarly, we must realize that our spiritual life is more than just a slice of the pie. Instead, it is inextricably wound to all other parts of our living. Our faith influences all other aspects of our life. And, if we’re honest, the other aspects of our life influence our walk of faith.


Deuteronomy 6:4-5 says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” This was a way of saying love God with your whole being. In the Gospels, when Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment, Deuteronomy 6 is where he points. And he adds, “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39).


God does not want just a slice of life, as though faith is one more area to consider alongside fitness, finances, and friendships. The Lord who is one wants us to love Him with oneness of devotion—with all our heart, soul, and might. Don’t try to put God into a compartment. God is much too large for that.

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