“Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked — the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.‘” –C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
Have you ever heard of the statement, “Leave Jesus out of this thing.” Or, as we say it in our tongues, “Hebu tuwache Yesu nje ya hii story.” Why would we adopt such a mentality? Such thinking tells us that there is a disconnect of sorts. English calls it ‘compartmentalization’. It means to have a tier for every part of our lives. There is a shelf for Church-related activities and people; there is a shelf for colleagues if you work away from the Church set up; there is another one for uncles and relatives and another one for friends, et cetera. With that kind of a mind, there is hardly a chance for being known and genuine. Often, we have people say that we should leave Church business in Church and do things out there in the corporate world. Do such sentiments hod any water? Can we, as a generation, keep in such kind of a mentality? We need to adopt a complete view of our lives, especially when we call ourselves ‘saints’ in Christ.
The Dangers of having Shelved Minds:
Matthew 23:25-26, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For, you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” Jesus seems to be without chills in this portion. He calls out the Pharisees and Scribes for having double standards. Shelving our lives is having double standards. If you read on, you will see just how serious Jesus calls these guys to order.
The opposite of hypocrisy is legitimate, straight forward or real. What we say is the same as what I do. When I have a shelf for school, home, the Church, and other places, I am a qualified and bonafide hypocrite. The word hypocrite is not an insult rather a description. Shelving our lives deepens our innate desire to be hypocritical. The more I manage to make people think of me in a certain way and certain places, the more I become a master of hypocrisy. Of the things that have caused many to be sceptical about Christianity, hypocrisy is a key contributor!
Lack of Accountability
Ephesians 4:25, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another.” Shelved living is a way of running away from accountability. To be accountable means that I am willing to make my life open for scrutiny or criticism by close friends and brethren. Without shelves, we are prone to mature faster and grow deeper in our understanding of faith issues. For any firm believer, there exists a good team of brothers and sisters whom they were accountable or answerable. Paul says that shelved living is falsehood. When we refuse to allow others a chance to pry into our lives and give meaningful criticism, we fall prey to hypocrisy.
Lone ranger Christianity is a recipe for destruction. Dealing with the Devil in private will cause us a Humpty Dumpty public fall! Jesus warned in John 10:10 that the work of the thief is to steal and kill and to destroy. That is what happens when we live in secret- we die and get destroyed. If this walk were to be a lone ranger kind of thing, then we would be taken to heaven, or away from people immediately we got saved. Sadly, it did not happen. Jesus had 12 disciples whom He walked with closely. Throughout Church history, we read of bands of brothers and fellowships and local congregations. We never read about lone ranger saints. A shelved/ compartmentalized lifestyle kills accountability and breeds hypocrisy.
Judgment and Deep Chastisement
The other danger we face by living double standard lives is the danger of judgment for those who are without Christ. If we think that being Church attendees will lead us before the throne of God, then we are mistaken. John 1:12 and 3:16 do not allude to such thinking. We must be in Christ for us to appear before the throne of His Father blameless, as it were. Do you have a relationship with Christ, or are you a serial Churchgoer? Of the pending judgment, Jesus said in John 3:18 that whoever does not believe is already condemned. Without Christ, even the idea of shelved lifestyles cannot feature a box called ‘Jesus’. You must be born again! Secondly, for those who are born again, it is absurd to think that there is room for shelves. Jesus expects to be Lord of ALL our lives. Either that or He is not Lord AT ALL! Total surrender is expected of us by Jesus. Failure to this leads us into severe chastisement. Though it is good for us, it is best when we learn not to get into it because we refused to style up and submit.
There is no such thing before the sight of God as compartments or shelves. Our lives are one whole room. No shelves whatsoever! Our faith is evident in all our practices and engagements. My school life, work-life, home life, and church life are all the same thing. I need to express the glories of Christ in all spheres or aspects of life. Paul says it in this way; 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.“