The Startling Sacred

Sometimes I get so caught up in what I'm not doing. If I was just doing this or taking time for that, then I would be a better Christ follower, a more mature Christian.

And while in fact there are things I really ought to be doing, and I'm not making an excuse for them, I'm really getting caught up in the idea that a believer's seriousness and spirituality are reflected in and measured by "spiritual" activities, e.g., serving at church, leading Bible studies, witnessing to coworkers, going on mission trips. {Consider how we so often elevate foreign missionaries to an almost super-spiritual status.}

These activities are certainly excellent in and of themselves and following Christ should result in growing spiritually and being involved in Kingdom work, yes, but we should also be careful to keep Christ as our standard, and walk as Jesus did, rather than base our definition of Christian living on other people, which ultimately is what I see in someone else and how I see myself in comparison.

It is easy to be discouraged by a false sense of guilt when we feel we fall short of other believers, when the truth is, it's not about being good enough, because Christ has done enough; we receive salvation by faith, not by works, but by Christ's work on the cross, once for all.

And with grace and without measuring sticks, God sanctifies His followers to become more like His Son and enables them to bring Him glory, not just at church or with rituals or "spiritual" activities but in the whole course of life, in the everyday. God never intended faith, or Christ-following, to be confined; we are designed to live worship, to serve and glorify God in all things.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.
      ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31

The question isn't so much what should I be doing for God, but what am I doing right now that should be - and can be - an offering to God. Because everything we do glorifies Christ when we do it as unto the Lord.

This, an excerpt from one of Charles Spurgeon's sermons:

To a man who lives unto God nothing is secular, everything is sacred.

He puts on his workday garment and it is a vestment to him.

He sits down to his meal and it is a sacrament.

He goes forth to his labor, and therein exercises the office of the priesthood. His breath is incense and his life a sacrifice.

He sleeps on the bosom of God, and lives and moves in the divine presence.

To draw a hard and fast line and say, “This is sacred and this is secular,” is, to my mind, diametrically opposed to the teaching of Christ and the spirit of the gospel…

Peter saw a sheet let down from heaven in which were all manner of beasts and four-footed creatures, which he was bidden to kill and eat, and when he refused because they were unclean, he was rebuked by a voice from heaven, saying, “What God hath cleansed that call not thou common” [Acts 10:15; 11:9].

The Lord hath cleansed your houses, he has cleansed your bed chambers, your tables…  He has made the common pots and pans of your kitchens to be as the bowls before the altar – if you know what you are and live according to your high calling.

You housemaids, you cooks, you nurses, you ploughmen, you housewives, you traders, you sailors, your labor is holy if you serve the Lord Christ in it, by living unto Him as you ought to live.

The sacred has absorbed the secular.”

~ Spurgeon

If we're hoping to see or "experience" God through spiritual activity, or feel closer to Him by doing more, or even become more like Him by spending time doing "holy" things, we're missing it. Because if we don't work heartily as unto Him, we miss holiness, and if we don't live in His presence by offering our lives, not just pieces, as a sacrifice, we miss Him. If we segregate sacred in our lives, we segregate ourselves from God.

Jesus more than anyone understood this. He was perfect, followed the Law to the letter, and prayed and spent time with His Father, and yet perfect Godliness and holiness did not always look like or conform to "religion" by the definition of the day, or confine holy to the Temple. He also lived the everyday, He worked, He traveled, He went to potlucks, He hung out with people, He made friends and He made enemies, and His life was an offering. And everything was sacred because it was all unto God, and always with God because God is always with us.

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