Concerning Resolution #6, Part 3

Posted: October 21, 2011 in Resolution #6
Tags: , , , , ,

Compartmentalization: that’s the process of dividing your life into tidy little sections, and of dividing your moral/ethical code right along with them. In doing this you wind up with many different manifestations of yourself, each with a particular subset of ‘rules to live by’.

There’s Business You. While in this particular compartment you may engage in behaviour that, while maybe not technically immoral or illegal, may skirt the edge of the honesty/dishonesty continuum. And you’ll explain it to yourself and others by saying, “Well, it’s just business.”

There’s Work You. In this compartment you may say or do things that you find morally/ethically questionable…even offensive. But, you’ll do them because the job requires them…and, after all, a job’s a job!

There’s Church You. This is the smiling, well put-together you that may represent you at your best…at the pinnacle of your possible human perfection. (Good job it’s only once a week, eh? Trying to maintain this any length of time might precipitate an utter emotional breakdown.)

There’s Family You. This is more authentically you than all the rest. Its likely here that your deepest feelings, beliefs, and most complete moral/ethical code is given full voice.

There are many more compartments than the ones listed here, and as you read those written above you probably started making your own list…one that’s much longer than four. The point of that little list is simply to illustrate in print what you already know in fact; that you and I compartmentalize our lives, and apply different sets of rules at different times. I’m not sure that compartmentalization is necessarily a bad thing. For instance, I recognize that Pastor Me and Family Me have some differences, and that my conduct in the pastorate will be dissimilar in some regards from my behaviour as a family man. And I don’t think that anyone would find that unreasonable.

However…

Any one of us Apostolics also recognize that overarching all of the various compartments of our lives and permeating every aspect of our living is the reality of redemption. We are Christians, and that state of faith is the grand rule of life for us. Each compartment and every moral/ethical subset that may govern it must flow from and be in accord with the Apostolic Faith. The Business, Work, Church, Family, and other compartments of our lives cannot be exempt from the rule of Faith. We are Christians first…we are Christians foremost. Before business, work, church, and family, we are Christians. Above business, work, church, and family, we are Christians. Every aspect of life must be governed by the rule of Faith made real in our lives by the Word and the Spirit. Above all, before all, through all…Christian…little Christs…followers of the Anointed One.

If the role I play in this life calls for me to manifest a nature other than Christ’s, then I must find another role. As a Christian, I should not…I cannot…willingly place myself in a position that calls for me to act in a way that will not represent my Saviour as anything other than He represented Himself. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker… if I cannot demonstrate the grace of redemption, I cannot be it. Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy…if it causes me to violate the nature and Spirit of Jesus, I cannot be it.

How did we ever form the idea that the Rule of Faith can adapt itself to every secular profession? How did we ever form the idea that we may participate fully in all this world’s ventures while living as Christ’s? Have we narrowed our definition of Apostolic to the point that “come out from among them and be separate” only refers to a code of dress or whether we go to movies or not? Perhaps we have.

Are you ready for this?

Above and before nationality, we are Christian. Above and before politics, we are Christian. Above and before economics, we are Christian. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions on behalf of nation, party, or policy must be formed and influenced by the faith of Christ…and not the other way around. Our love of Christ and the presence of His Spirit must be evident in all. Christ doesn’t allow us to love nation, party, or policy more than we love Him. And He doesn’t allow us to make the manifestation of His love and nature subservient to our patriotic feelings.

Americans have made love of country and patriotic feeling into practically Christian virtues, and the propagation of American values into a sort of evangelistic endeavour. But I think we’ve forgotten that one can love and honour one’s earthly country without for a moment sacrificing one’s integrity as an ambassador of Christ. We must remind ourselves that we have been birthed in another Country by another Spirit, and that we represent that Country…and the Spirit of that Country. Know what I think? I think we’ve forgotten that we are strangers and pilgrims in this world. I think we’ve forgotten that we are foreigners here…that here we have no “continuing city.” I think we’ve forgotten where our primary citizenship lies; the Kingdom of God.

I think we’ve forgotten that there is an eternity…a real eternity…and that the end of this life only serves as the gateway to the life that never ends. I think we’ve forgotten that in the Apostolic Faith there are only two possible destinies; heaven or hell. I think we’ve forgotten that our business is to go into all the world, make disciples, baptize them, and teach them how to live the life of Christ…not to invade, kill, and conquer. I think in our passage of Resolution #6 at our 2011 General Conference, we’ve forgotten that we have been commissioned to a higher purpose…and that our mission is not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them…that we are sent to prepare men for heaven, not send them rapidly and efficiently to hell.

Comments
  1. chrispaolini says:

    Well written and true, Bro. This is a challenge to us all.

  2. And you call measly lil me a ‘pot-stirrer?’ I think not. 🙂

  3. Mary Joy (Ganda0425) says:

    One of the many things I learned from your teachings: as a Christian, there is no middle ground for me. Either I am a believer, or an unbeliever; and my actions could lead me to heaven or to hell. =)

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