How to Avoid Compartmentalized Faith

Recently, a friend and I were discussing personal productivity. I was reminded of a principle I learned about faith from a  presentation by Scott Johnson. Scott said a manager of his gave him this illustration years ago, too.

Our conversation centered around an illustration from Procrastinate on Purpose by Rory Vaden. Rory talked about how time was like water. Each week we have a pitcher with 168 hours of time in it. We divide our hours into different glasses. And my friend asked the group in this conversation, what our glasses were. How do I divide up our limited resource called time? We each decide where to spend our time and when the time is gone, it’s gone. Even if we don’t decide, we still decide. Failure to make a decision doesn’t stop the time from passing.

What are your glasses?

Many people suggested several different things. Since this was a group of Christians, faith was a glass, or bucket, listed by almost everyone. Most who spoke up also listed fitness, family, friends, rest, hobbies, and several others.

Is Faith A Bucket?

Do we only spend part of our time with God? Is our faith simply one of the things we do? When we spend time on work, or hobbies, or with family, does that involve our faith? What activities go into a faith glass that don’t go into any other glass? Do we only improve ourselves and our relationship with God during specific times?

We naturally compartmentalize. When I’m at work, I work. When I’m golfing or watching TV or at a social event, I rest. When I’m exercising, I exercise. And when I sleep, I sleep. Certainly sleep is one of those that can’t also be faith, right?

It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. Psalm 127:2 NASB

How do we avoid compartmentalization?

When we pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), every activity becomes a faith activity. If we give every activity to God before we do it, he uses us for his glory. He works his will, and makes the most of our lives with every action we take. Faith becomes how we use our time performing every activity, even sleeping.

Unfortunately, I am not a good example of allowing my faith access to every area of my life, but I’m working on it. As followers of Jesus, let’s ask him to remind us to pray without ceasing and give him every minute of our lives.

Photo by Chris Ralston on Unsplash


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