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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Open seas demand faith

Alan Watts once penned, "Religion is not a department of life; it is something that enters into the whole of it." I think it is quite possible we relegate God to some "portion" of our lives, while we hold back other parts of us as "off-limits" to him. This is perhaps the one consistent theme in the lives of those who really don't go beyond "Sunday church" in their relationship with Jesus. Sure, he is good for the one hour on Sunday when we celebrate him in the company of others who come to do the same, but we don't take him much further than the doorway of the church sometimes. We hear the good sermon, even nod in agreement to the points the preacher makes, and laugh at the jokes he tells. When we leave the doors of the church, the matters discussed become as though they were carried on the winds - gone from our memories, and not at all affecting our hearts.  God isn't a "department" or "thing" in our lives just for one day a week, or tough seasons when we "need him". He is meant to be the center of our lives, integral to all we say, do, touch, and breathe!

You should love Him, your True God, with all your heart and soul, with every ounce of your strength. Make the things I’m commanding you today part of who you are. (Deuteronomy 6:5-6 VOICE)


Why do we compartmentalize God? I think it may be out of fear, or a lack of trust. We simply don't have many solid examples in our lives of being able to trust someone other than ourselves with our present or future circumstances. We have been disappointed by others so many times that we just don't think anyone can produce the evidence of reliability we so desperately need to rely upon - so we trust ourselves instead. I for one know that my own ability often betrays me as not much more "capable" than the next guy! The inability to trust anyone with the matters of life is often our greatest hurdle. We cannot fully embrace God into all the areas of our lives we have closed off to him because of this trust issue until we are willing to put our fear behind us. A ship can no more leave the dock while it is tethered tightly to it than Christ can enter into those places we demand he stays out of because we are afraid of what he will see, do, or change.

It isn't until we begin to loosen the tethers that keep us so tightly "bound" to the dock that we are free to experience the open waters of the sea. The growth of our faith beyond the one day a week kind of faith is not possible until we have loosed ourselves from the dock of our self-doing. No one has the need for faith until what lies between them and several million gallons of water is not much more than the thin hull of the boat!  We don't need "God" while we are docked securely, never exposed to the things which could rock our world and disturb our peace. We suddenly realize how much we need him when our "mooring" begins to be challenged a little. If that "anchor" or "mooring" is simply "secure" because we are holding life all together under our own strength, managing all these areas we have declared as off-limits to God, or simply don't "see the need" to bother him with, we will find ourselves awkwardly trying to navigate the seas under our own strength and power when that mooring begins to falter.

As our passage implies, God isn't to be limited to some "department" or "compartment" of our lives we somehow have labeled as the "religious" side of our life. He is to affect all aspects of our lives, giving us both secure "tether" and trusty navigation when we find ourselves in open seas! Just sayin!