They may rejoice in church, singing praises and shouting for joy, but once they go home many Christians lead lives of desperation and turmoil.
The Two-Faced Christian
People separate their professional life from their personal life. Sometimes with great difficulty.
As Christians we inhabit two worlds, the natural and the eternal. We live in the physical world, subject to the physical laws of the universe. The limits of flesh and blood life, all the foibles and ills that every child of Adam is subject to. At every turn our attention is diverted to this world. Making sure we have shelter, that our families are fed.
We also inhabit the eternal, the spiritual realm where we are children of God, enjoying eternal status as adopted family and heirs of God.
We separate these two lives quite easily and unconsciously. On one side we have the ordinary everyday actions of living, taking care of the physical. Many times repenting to God for what seems like wasted time and energy. Let alone the feelings of guilt should we indulge in something pleasurable like a game of Monopoly with the kids, or taking in baseball game with one’s sweetheart. On the other, works and feelings that have little correlation to the physical world.
And so we have no peace in our life, or perhaps we only have peace on one side of our lives. We are torn.
Living Two Lives Means Living a Lie
Christians lie to themselves, assuring themselves in the mirror that they are at peace when the look on their faces tell the story of agony. And who can blame them when the command of God is to “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.“ Spending everyday walking the tightrope between two worlds. Finding only agony in each because of the other.
Even Paul acknowledges the apparent dichotomy when he writes “…that which I would do, I do not. That which I do not want, that I do.“
But it’s a false dilemna that is no where supported as the way any Christian has to live, or suffer through.
Jesus Our Example
Jesus did not live two lives, one spiritual, one physical. He lived an undivided life, on earth, before His Father who accepted that offering in total. The lowest physical act and the highest spiritual one.
Paul teaches us to “…do all to the glory of God,” and then proceeds to talk about eating and drinking.
The Gospel does not teach self hatred. Even though Christian philosophers and writers down through the ages have done their best to instill a sense of shame and loathing of all things natural.
Jesus was human. Fully human. And yet not once did He ever commit any action which could be considered non-sacred. His incarnation forever destroys the lie that the physical body offends God. Whether He was eating a fish, or walking on water.
God created us. And He isn’t ashamed of His handiwork.
Physical actions that are contrary to the will of God offend God. Wherever human intent works for evil, that is truly where any stigma should lay.
Be Ye Perfect
So how do we get down off the tightrope?
Aggressive faith. We must offer all of us to God. The weak knees, the arthritic fingers, exhilaration of competing in a sports event, the first blush on our cheeks as we see our partner walk into the room, the feeling of being young and healthy, the feeling of being old and frail.
But it’s not enough to offer them to Him, we must know that He, as their designer accepts them. When you pray remind both yourself and God that every act you do is meant for His glory.
Let us find God in the simple, daily acts, which make up our lives. And be perfect and holy.
Jesus, when He spoke to people many times prefaced His words with “You have heard from old…but I tell you...”, in order to disabuse the people of the nonsense that grown up around the Law of God.
Paul, during the course of his ministry showed people that it was the intent, the will, that made something unclean or unholy. Whether that was meat, a day, or an action.
Not all actions carry the same importance of course. For Paul the important part was writing the letter to the churches. The tent mending was less important. But no less sacred, or holy, worshipful, or accepted.
Let us walk in Christ knowing that each and every footprint can be sacred. Perfection is a journey, not a destination.