Summary: Pt 6 deals with the unification of life under God. The sacred secular divide in life must be torn down so that we do all that we do to the glory of God.
The Secrets to Successful Living
Pt 6 – Bridging the Sacred/Secular Divide
We started several weeks ago talking about this idea of success and the Christian. We’ve talked about idea’s of changing our measure of success, keeping Christ central to life, Boundaries and Balance, simplifying life, and last we talked about living a deeper spiritual life with Christ. This morning I want to look with you at Paul’s letter to the Church at Colossae, the middle part of this letter contained in chapter 3 is all about how to be successful in living our Christian life.
If we want to be successful we need to bridge the sacred/secular divide.
As Christians we tend to live our lives in bits and pieces. There are parts of our lives that just never intersect. Our culture is right now fighting a battle to further compartmentalize life. Our schools, media, and even pulpits teach that the Bible focuses solely on Spiritual issues of heaven and eternity while another standard is set for issues of politics, science, work, business, and social issues. Faith is to be a private matter – while the rest of life is lived in public. So the church has bought into this idea and not only have we suffered but the world has suffered with us as the church has become irrelevant to most of our society.
The results of living with the sacred/secular divide are easy to see:
We are Frustrated: Living in two different worlds leaves us never really fulfilled in either one. All the time that we are living in our secular world we feel broken and sometimes ashamed that our secular world doesn’t quite match up with our sacred beliefs. While we are in our sacred world of worship the secular world invades our thoughts and energies and vies for our attention so that we stay distracted and unfulfilled. Living in two worlds is frustrating because it leaves us living fully in neither one.
We live with a Twisted Spirit: When we live in two separate worlds we are always trying to remember which person we are. James says that we become like a man who looks at himself in a mirror. “You look at yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.” Living in two worlds one that honors and follows God and one that honors and follows self leaves our spirit twisted in knots over who we are when and where.
We live with a broken witness: Not because we foul up or continue to sin on occasion. It’s because in our sacred life we live in the self-righteous posture of the perfect saint while in our secular life we live like everyone else. People know people who live what they believe. The world is not looking for perfection it is looking for integrity. When in our sacred life we live with the understanding that we are a work in progress – and in our secular life continue to progress – that is integrity and that presents the witness of Christ.
So how do we bridge this great divide in our lives – if we want to be successful in this life we have to begin to unify our lives under one banner, one direction, one God.
We make a choice – the reality of this world is that it’s about choices. Paul calls us to “set our minds on the things above”. What he is calling for is people to unify their thinking. Realizing that Biblical Christianity is not about occasionally encounters with God but about a life lived with Him. Francis Schaeffer observed, “Christianity is not a series of truths in the plural, but rather truth spelled with a capital ‘T.’ Truth about total reality, not just about religious things.” So we make the choice to set faith at the center of all things. The truth is that the sacred/secular divide does not exist within New Testament theology – Jesus who is our teacher who is our example says “I do always the things that please Him.”
Acknowledge the Sacredness of Everyday Living v.17– “What ever you do in word or deed”. Don’t believe he meant it? He writes to the church at Corinth “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I love the choice of items here – whatever you do even the most simple and necessary things do them to the glory of God. William Tyndale said
There is no work better than another to please God; to pour water, to wash dishes, to be a cobbler, or an apostle, all is one; to wash dishes and to preach is all one to please God.
It is difficult for most of us to accept the idea that our daily labors can be performed as acts of worship but that is exactly what the New Testament teaches. If we are being conformed to the image of God and obedient to His will – whatever our job – it is an act of worship. Every job offers the opportunity to bring glory to the God that you serve. In fact I would submit to you that God has designed and crafted you for just such a task. God has designed you to be part of this world as a witness to the world. The world filled with followers of Jesus Christ spread through every part of the fabric of society who will proclaim with their lives that Jesus is Lord. That means that God cares about how you are a husband or wife, he cares how you behave as a child, he cares how you do business, how you conduct your personal life – it all reflects on the one you claim to serve. Every moment of every day is a sacred act of worship if it is lived to the glory of God.