Deuteronomy 6:6-9 – “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” NKJV
Compartmentalization is defined as “an unconscious psychological mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person’s having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.”
In Christianity, compartmentalization gives rise to and attempts to justify holding the view of having a “spiritual life, church life, family life, business life, etc.” I had a very well-respected man, a pillar of the church and community, tell me that his business life, family life, and spiritual life were all separated and that allowed him to function more perfectly in this present world. I cannot accept that as biblically valid for we are what we believe and out of our belief system our lives are reflected in our various life engagements.
If we compartmentalize our lives so that one does not overlap the other, we could be devious in business, disloyal in our relationships, and yet maintain the appearance of godliness in the church. That dog won’t hunt, in my opinion. We read in Proverbs 23:7 (Amp), “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior – one who manipulates].” Jesus informed us in Luke 12 that a person’s life DOES NOT consist of possessions. His existence may consist of possessions but not his LIFE. Life is the sum total of all we are in all areas of our existence.
Compartmentalization is one of the major reasons so many are avid defenders of the idea of “separation of church and state.” If we completely divest politics from our spiritual and moral makeup, we are able to stand behind politicians who are not godly, do not support godly principles, and demonstrate a character unbecoming of the faith. If we completely divest politics from our spiritual and moral makeup, we are able to support legislation that gives us a benefit on one hand while running afoul of the basic principles of God’s word and morality.
I do not want to make this devotional about politics, but every area of life is part of our Life and important. What I believe politically, economically, socially, and relationally is directly connected and stems from what I believe spiritually. If I value the Word of God and consider the Bible my guide for faith and practice, then I cannot and will not separate it from every compartment or area of my life. WHAT I BELIEVE IS WHO I AM!
It would cause less angst in our hearts if we could compartmentalize our lives and feel no guilt or remorse for deviousness, often called shrewdness, in business. However, our conscience will not allow us to have that disconnect Unless we allow our conscience to become “seared”.
Compartmentalization allows Christians to become anesthetized to the wickedness and evil in society on various fronts. I am amazed at how little sin troubles many who profess Christ today. We are able to be inundated with profanity, lewdness, and vileness and do not feel completely soiled needing a bath.
Tragically too frequently, our spirits are not grieved when we are bombarded with godlessness, and we are able to allow it entrance through our eye or ear gates not realizing that it taints our spirits much more dramatically than we imagine. I have had some tell me that I am being “holier than thou” or too “Puritan and Prudish” in my views because that is just the way the world is, and we have to be in it. Yes, but we are not to be OF IT!
You are not a cat and do not have nine lives distinct and separate from the other compartments of your being. You are the sum total of the various aspects of your life and a reflection of what you believe.
If we truly believe the Bible is the Word of God then I suggest that we need to come before our Lord and ask Him, as David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” [Psalm 51:10-11].
InProverbs 4:23 we find, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” The word issues refer to the “outgoings and boundaries”. Our hearts (what we believe) shapes our lives, who we are, and all we do. How can we believe in an Omniscient God who wants us to seek first and foremost His kingdom and righteousness if we compartmentalize our lives including Him in some and excluding Him in other portions?
God bless you as you go through this wonderful day in Him!