[Check out part 1 of this journal post as well if you haven't and let's continue the conversation...]
Jesus knew His purpose was to remove the lines that kept people divided and restore the world back to it’s original design and purpose. Jesus removed the fear of going into “secular environments” by spending time with Samaritans who were considered “compromisers of faith” by showing us that sometimes it’s a spiritual necessity to go because God wants to bring truth and to broken people just like the woman who was relationally broken, had 5 previous husbands and was living with her current boyfriend (John 4:17-18).
Jesus showed us that defining your education as secular or Christian isn’t necessary because Jesus attending “secular school” by learning a carpenter’s trade is just as spiritual as praying with someone as a respected rabbi. I think Bible Schools and Seminary's are necessary. I attended one and it forever changed my life, made me the man I am today and the relationships from those days are some of my closest. Whatever God has made you to do and to go, then learn as much as you can and step out with God leading the way. Some of you will desire to be an accountant and will go to a Christian university to accomplish this. Some of you want to reach students and will go to your local university to become a teacher to do this. Some of you are feeling lead to work inside the church and will head to a Bible College to gain a deep understanding of Scriptures and learning more about deeper theological issues. Jesus was a Rabbi and a carpenter. He gained education from both because God's plan was for Jesus to be both. Whatever and wherever Jesus is leading you, lean into the future God has for you and you won't be disappointed.
Jesus redeemed Paul to show us there is no such thing as a “secular job” because Paul was a tentmaker and an itinerate communicator of the Gospel showing us all we are all called to full-time ministry as a follower of Jesus despite our career (Acts 18:3). Just live out each obedient "yes" from God day by day and see what God does and where he takes you. God’s less concerned about your secular contamination and more concerned about your spiritual commitment to say yes to God as often as you can. But don't get me wrong, we need to continue to define and celebrate even more than ever the people who choose to make ministry their career choice. The full-time calling of God to serve in the Church full-time is something that pastors need to highlight more, champion more and identify in younger people more than ever. My point here is simply saying we are ALL called to full-time ministry in our areas of influence.
Jesus showed us spending time with your “secular friends” isn’t wrong because when you enter their house (like Jesus going into Zacheus home to eat and have a relationship with him) it changes them because spending time with you as a Christian is spending time with Jesus...and people cannot help but be changed in the presence of Jesus.
6 Practical Ways To Remove the Secular Divide From Your Life and Live A Restored Life in Jesus:
1. Stop Living a Compartmentalized Life
Many people see their lives as divided wedges, like pieces of pie, with little real connection to each other. This perspective violates the very nature of Jesus and His ministry as we've been finding out. Yet many people view their lives as divided into separate, unrelated parts the reality is that is not how we are supposed to live. There are the parts that some view as secular, such as work, hobbies and recreation. These parts occur outside of sacred places, such as a church, youth groups, etc. and therefore are not related, in their minds, to faith. This subtle dualism develops among well-meaning Christians making their lives complicated and spiritually draining at times. God says this: "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). When you live a restored life, you live an integrated life instead of a compartmentalized one. Where you’re at and what you’re doing aren’t as important as your mission to see God be known with those you are in contact with. When you live on mission for Jesus you see your friends, your school and your job as restorative opportunities.
2. Let God Do the Loving First
We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). That’s how God originated it. Powerful words found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 give us this challenge, "The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." God created us to love Him with all my heart. If I’m building relational bridges with the dude in the cubicle next to me or the girl sitting in the desk next to me then loving God with all my heart means I’m loving my neighbor because God loves them. It doesn’t matter where they are or where they’ve been, Gods love for them isn’t different or categorized but genuine. The authentic love thats to me and in me is because it’s from God who love's me and gave Himself for me so I can love others in the same way.
3. Experience God In All Places At All Times
For many sincere Christians, the mandate in Scripture that states, "Do not love the world or the things in the world" (1 John 2:15) tends to be a “false proof” that a division exists between Sunday activities and the rest of the week activities outside of church or “Wednesday night.” The Bible teaches that God is everywhere. In fact, everything is known to God-whether it’s holy or not, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?" (Psalm 139:7). God is omnipresent and their is reassurance of His presence not matter where we go. When you’re at work, God is there. When you’re watching The Voice, God is there. When you’re worshipping God on Sunday morning, God is there. As referenced earlier in Psalm 139:7, King David, the man after God’s own heart assumed the integrated life of God being invited into all we do is the way of the lover of God. Basically, as a believer of God, you are saying essentially everything one does, thinks or feels has something to do with God. That’s a good thing because the more God is invited into more places in my life, the more I am aware of God in my life and the more I will see God in my life.
4. Restore Culture As Often As You Can
It’s easy to look at unredeemed people, places and things in culture to reject them. We’ve all been guilty of responding with . Let’s be restorers. People who choose to see the broken places in the world and see a need to help than find a path to run from it. That’s the way God intended it from the beginning. The first human beings were called to care for God’s creation which means that should beour mandate as well. I don’t want a Christian Adam Levine. I just want Adam Levine to become a Christian.
5. Live Out of the Overflow
Faith is supposed to be interwoven into every day of your life, not reduced to a Sunday ritual. Which means what you do on Wednesday at work is just as spiritual and special to God because God filled you up to work for him. The Bible’s first mention of the Holy Spirit is in Exodus, when two men are chosen by God to make the tabernacle. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills – to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts” (Exodus 31:2-5). The first person filled with the Spirit in the Bible was a creative (shoutout to all creative fields because God clearly sees us as the most important, duh.). Bezalel was filled to overflowing by God to work his job throughout the week for God. There is no line between secular or sacred work just the overflow of God to do work. So let God fill you with His Spirit as often as you can so you can pour out as often as you can into as many places as you can (work, classrooms, neighborhood homes, coffee shops, etc).
6. Stop Having A Career And Start Following Your Calling
God makes it clear that “whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). God isn’t into separating our career from other calling but that they are one in the same. Some of us are called to be a teacher and use our educational degree to champion the next generation. Some of us are creative geniuses at numbers and that is your calling in life…to "work the numbers." Some of us are burdened with a desire to serve the community or nations with non-profit work or start our own endeavor. Some of us are called to partner with the church and work inside the church and pursue a career in the church world building and equipping leaders. Whatever we do in life, it all works together for the good when we center ourselves on discovering our purpose and walking out that purpose authentically (Romans 8:28).
Any other thoughts you have on living a restored life?