Compartmentalizing Christianity

2 Chronicles 8:11 And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of the LORD hath come.

Pastor Meyers recently preached a series on Solomon’s life. It was called “An Autobiography of a confused Christian”. That title defines this passage so well!

In the passage above, Solomon’s heart was still tender. He still had a love for the Lord. He had just completed the temple, and brought the ark of God back to its place. There was a time of revival, rejoicing, and worship, and the Lord was working in an amazing way. However, as the dust settled, Solomon realized that there was a major conflict in his life. He had married the daughter of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and had her living in his home- the same vicinity as the ark of the covenant. She was most likely actively serving other gods (1 Kings 11:1-4). And she, unholy, certainly couldn’t be in the same place as the holy ark of God. What should Solomon do?

Understanding this conflict- that having a pagan wife and a holy ark in the same place were mutually exclusive, and incompatible, Solomon came up with a plan. He’d keep the ark at “home”, and move Pharaoh’s daughter into a house that he had made for her nearby. What did Solomon do here? He believed he could compartmentalize the holy and the unholy in his life. This worked out- until it didn’t. 1 Kings 11:1 tells us the result of Solomon compartmentalizing his Christianity: his heart was turned away from that which was truly holy, and it had grave consequences for his relationship with the Lord, his kingdom, and generations to come (1 Kings 11-12).

1 Kings 11:1-4 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love… and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

We live in such a compartmentalized society. We are taught to compartmentalize our work life, our home life, our politics, our religion, and our hobbies. Even our homes are as compartmentalized as ever. We have rooms for every function, like the kitchen (and within it, the utensil drawer, the dish cabinet, the fridge, the knife holder, etc.), the bathroom (with the medicine cabinet, the towel rack, and shampoo shelf), and even our vehicles (our trunk for junk or necessary car items, our glove box for documents, our middle console for electronics or miscellaneous items) are separated into different compartments.

Because we’re so in the habit of compartmentalizing, many times, our Christianity falls in line as well. We have our work life, our church life, our hobbies, our entertainment, our affections and desires, and our life’s pursuits. We can easily fool ourselves into believing that we can keep these in different compartments, even when they may be incompatible with the Bible we say we believe. This may work for a while, but like with Solomon, it we allow that which is unholy or unbiblical to stick around in a compartment of our lives, eventually, it will turn our heart from the Lord. Rather than the holy affecting the unholy, the unholy will creep in to affect the rest of our lives.

Scripture makes it clear that Christ and His holiness aren’t to be compartmentalized, but to reach into and have preeminence in every area of our lives (Colossians 1:18). If an area of our life is incompatible with Scriptural living, it isn’t to be moved to another area, but removed completely.

Have we compartmentalized our Christianity? Are there unholy compartments that need to be removed? Let’s start today! Let’s not be like Solomon, whose belief that he could separate the holy from the unholy led to tragedy in his life, and in the lives of generations after him.

Colossians 1:18 And he (Christ) is the head of the body, the church… that in all things he might have the preeminence.

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