DayBreaks for 10/14/19: The Dangers of Compartmentalization
From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” – Mark 6:45-52 (NIV)
As I’ve been working my way through Mark in my daily “quiet time”, I’ve been struck over and over again by phrases I’d not thought about before. One is in this text. Jesus had just walked on the water and gotten into the boat with his terrified followers. It’s the last sentence in the verses above the puzzled me: “They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” Just prior to this, Jesus had fed a multitude and involved the disciples in that miracle. But it says that they were amazed (apparently at Jesus being able to walk across the water to reach them) because they’d not understood what had happened with the miracles of the loaves. What does one have to do with the other?
I must confess that I am not sure, but here’s on possibility: the miracle of the feeding of the multitude (among other things) demonstrated Jesus mastery and Lordship over physical things. But the disciples didn’t really get that, or so it appears. When he walked on water, they were amazed. I would have been amazed, too, especially if I’d not seen Jesus feed the throngs with so little! But having seen that, one would think that it would have been easy to accept that He is lord over all things.
One thing that bugs me is how we compartmentalize our faith and conceptions of Jesus. It’s one thing to believe that Jesus is the Lord of spiritual things. It’s fairly easy for us to concede that territory to Him, isn’t it? I mean, we’ve not seen spirits, we’ve not touched a spirit, we don’t know what they look like or what the demons look like. We believe Jesus has and knows what is in the spiritual realm. But we seem to think that we are masters of the physical, non-metaphysical realm, that we are the lords and ladies over physical things.
So, we relegate Jesus to the spiritual world but do our best to cut him off from Lordship over the physical world. He will have none of it. He is the Lord of all, spiritual and physical. Our attempts to put him into a compartment are futile. We may attempt it in many ways for many reasons: we don’t want him interfering in our physical existence or telling us what we can or can’t do with our bodies, we don’t want to have to give an account for what we do so we pretend that what we do in our daily walk has nothing to do with our spiritual life. That’s a very dangerous heresy – but also a very old one. Long ago, there were those who argued that what we did in the body had no bearing on the soul and vice versa. It became nothing more or nothing less than a green light the indulgence of the passions of the flesh, thinking that physical acts committed in the physical world don’t affect the cleanliness of the soul.
And so, I ask myself: how have I bought into this heresy? What things to I indulge that soil the garment of righteousness that God has provided for me in Christ? In what areas of my life am I blocking the Savior’s access? From what areas do I un-invite Him, thinking foolishly that it won’t affect my walk with Christ? These questions deserve thought and answers. What are your answers?
PRAYER: I fear that our minds too easily accept Jesus’ authority in spiritual things but deny his right to all of us, Lord. Help us to see and understand that what we do in the flesh affects our souls and our closeness to You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>