By Ray Gano
As many of you know, I come from a security / investigative background. When I research, I conduct it like one would conduct an investigation.
I am one who constantly digs for the truth.
Recently in my investigations of doctrinal ideas, the Christian walk, etc, I have discovered that somewhere along the line we stopped looking at things as a whole and started to compartmentalize.
Some of you may be asking, what is so wrong with this?
In today’s hectic fast paced world, compartmentalizing one’s life helps one deal with so much that is thrown at them. Many of us have learned to live this way for the sake of self-preservation in this crazy world.
The problem is that living a compartmental life is a pitfall.
What is Compartmentalization?
We all know what a compartment is.
It is commonly defined as a space in which that space is then subdivided.
Looking at it another way is to think of your home as a floor plan.
Look at your bedroom. It is a compartment, where you sleep, the kitchen, another compartment, is where you cook and eat, the bathroom is another compartment where you bath and go to the bathroom.
Due to our fast-paced world, we humans have a tendency to compartmentalize things in our life so that we can control them better, deal with the stress and other issues that come with what the world doles out.
In doing this we provide a way that seems “reasonable” to us so that we can then interact with the world.
When we are at our job, we act one way. When we are with friends, we act another way. With family we act another way, etc, etc.
In many cases we have learned to adapt to our environment and then assert certain values, attitudes, beliefs, and language depending upon which compartment we may be in at that time.
And that is the pitfall.
Be Ye Holy
1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
See maintaining one compartment of our life as “holy” does not render our whole life as holy.
If one compartment of our life is “unholy” then the whole of our life is unholy before God.
Wow Ray, that is hard.
Yes it is. It is something that I believe that all of us deal with, myself included.
The more we compartmentalize the more we lie to ourselves thinking we are doing a great job.
That is the pitfall of compartmentalizing one’s life.
Compartmentalizing creates hypocrisy because in one compartment we live a holy life, yet in another compartment we may live like hell.
When we compartmentalize, we are able to rationalize and justify our actions. That is because we are not living at that moment in the “holy” compartment.
Instead we are living in the “who cares, live like hell” compartment.
Here is a great example of a compartmental life that I think you can relate with.
It is Sunday morning before church. If you have kids, you know exactly where I am going. The morning is hectic, the kids are raising cain, you can’t find your tie, your wife is trying to get dressed, made up, hair done. Kids are fighting over the prize in the cereal box and all this time you need to head out the door.
You get out the door and kids are fighting in the car. You scream at them to shut up, daughter starts crying because you yelled. Wife yells at you because you lost it and by this time you are approaching the church parking lot.
As soon as you pull in, you shift into your “going to church” compartment. You calm down, life is good, push back the frustration, etc etc.
If does not matter that WWIII was taking place in your home 30 minutes earlier. You are now in another compartment and life is good.
This is just an example of the hypocrisy of trying to live a compartmentalized life. One moment you are a complete jerk, another you are that “man of God” that everyone loves.
Add to this the “get drunk on Friday night” compartment, “join the guys from work and go to Hooters” compartment, “swearing like a sailor” compartment, and the list goes on.
Do you see how easy it is to fall into hypocrisy?
Here is the kicker.
I think it is safe to say that when we are completely honest with ourselves, all of us can admit that we live a compartmentalized life in one form or another.
NOW…. If we are living like this, compartmentalizing sin and our Christian walk, what does it make us?
But that is not all and this is why compartmentalizing our lives is a pitfall.
Because we have compartmentalized so much, we have made God’s compartment smaller and smaller.
In fact, we get His compartment so small that after a while we start asking God “why He isn’t in our lives anymore?”
We start questioning Him, and doubting him, etc.
What we forget is that God never left us. We have made His compartment so small that we no longer have any fellowship with Him.
Out of this lack of fellowship with God rises no longer needing God in our lives. We start standing on our own, and “doing it my way.”
Pride moves in, the heart become more and more hardened and we continue to compartmentalize God right out of the picture.
By this time, we get to this point we are fully backslidden and wallowing in the muck and mire of the world.
Getting Back to God
You have been living a compartmental life now for a while. Life is not good. There is that special place in your heart that has a void.
Then it happens.
It is about 3:00 AM in the morning when the world is quiet, and we wake to a still small voice.
It is the Holy Spirit talking to us.
We can do one of two things. Ignore it, which is another form of compartmentalizing.
Or we can pay attention to His still, small, convicting voice and start digging through all those compartments trying to come into fellowship with Him once again.
You are wide awake, and it becomes a moment in your life where you start asking yourself…
“Why did you do this, why did you leave God?”
You then talk to God…
“God, why did I compartmentalize you out of my life? Please forgive me and please let’s have fellowship once again.”
If We Confess Our Sins
It is at that moment that we realize that we have compartmentalized Him out of our lives. It is also at that time when we realize that we need to confess our sins to Him and re-establish that fellowship.
I love 1 John 1, in verses 6- 9 it deals with the pitfalls of compartmentalizing as well as gives us the solution.
Please note my comments in the brackets.
1John 1:6-9 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: — (This is us compartmentalizing, justifying, rationalizing, etc)
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. — (This is how we are to live)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. — (This is the result of us compartmentalizing, justifying, rationalizing, etc)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. — (This is the solution to compartmentalizing)
Once we have been forgiven of our sin and cleansed from all unrighteousness, the compartmentalization that we have been putting ourselves through seem to disappear.
That is till we start compartmentalizing again.
How To Not Go Down The Compartmentalizing Path
1 John 1:6-9 gives us a good idea, but there is more that we need to do. Otherwise what happens is that we start living a roller coaster life of sinning like hell, then repenting, then sinning, and then repenting.
Living a miserable life like that is not what the Lord had in store for us.
To stop living this sort of depressing un-victorious life we need to do one thing.
That is to fully submit to God.
We need to submit to Him, His ways and His Word. But we do not like this, we like to rebel.
When we compartmentalize, we start thinking on our own, start standing on our own, start doing things on our own. There is no submission.
We compartmentalize so that we can deal with sin that we want to live in, and the guilt and stress of living in it.
Yes, there are things that we do not want to do. We do things like yelling at the spouse and kids, looking at things you should not be looking at, doing things you should not be doing is all the outcome of compartmentalizing.
The answer is to fully submit to Him and live our lives like an open book before Him and others. It is God, not us, that starts to guide us and direct us. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
What is wonderful is that He takes care of those things that we had to compartmentalize.
Just so you know, we compartmentalized so that we are able to deal with the world as well as the stress and guilt that comes along with that.
Now I am not talking about living a life where you are tempting God. For example not showing up to work and thinking God will magically have all the bills paid and food on the table. We need to live in accordance to His Word.
Depending on Him fully is not living a life looking through rose colored glasses or having your head in the sand.
When we submit to Him fully, we open those doors of fellowship and we come just as we are. The stress and guilt are gone.
How Do We Fellowship?
We need to spend time talking to God. I know that during my day I talk to God often. It is kind of like when I am talking to Tracye. I just talk to Him and let Him know what is going on or I ask for His favor.
For example these past few weeks have been time consuming and I have not been able to write an article. This morning I asked God to help with this and give me an article that would help people. You are reading that answer to prayer right now.
We need more time in His Word. If you really want to hear the voice of God, read His Word.
When you read the bible, you are literally letting the voice of God into your mind.
I am reminded of Romans 21:2
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
How we are transformed into a person who submits to Him is by the renewing of our mind. We do that by reading His Word so that His Word is in our mind.
The Holy Spirit authored the Scriptures to be read and understood. He delights in making himself known to us through his Word.
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Right there is a great promise. That the Holy Spirit will teach us but more than that, He will help us to remember those things that we have read in His Word when the time comes where it is needed.
Have you ever been talking to someone about the Lord and you are able to quote a verse out of the blue and not know where it came from?
That is because at some point you read that in His Word and it became a part of you. The Holy Spirit brought it back to you at that time and place.
Now, if you have not been reading much of your bible, you don’t have much to lean on for the Holy Spirit to help you remember.
This is why reading your bible is vitally important.
We need more time with other bible believing Christians.
Hebrews 10:25a Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…
We need fellowship with others because if we do not have this, we stagnate. Like a pond that is sitting with no fresh water coming in, it will soon stagnate and become poisonous.
Our Christian walk will do the same if we do not fellowship with others. When we stagnate, we compartmentalize. Then we start that process of justifying, rationalizing, etc etc all over again and God is compartmentalized right out of our lives again.
We need to stop compartmentalizing things in our lives. We need to learn to submit to Him fully. He has our best interest in mind.
We see what happens when we take control, we fail miserably.
Compartmentalizing is a pitfall that sometimes take a long time to come back from.
Submit to Him today and discover His still small voice again.
1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.