One of the most heart-breaking spiritual ideas that took shape out of The Enlightenment was the division between the sacred and the secular. This idea that we participate in moments that are sacred (or spiritual) and then other moments which are secular (non-spiritual) has gained increasing momentum and cultural acceptance. It has extreme implications in our lives which have effects that we often times miss because it has become so accepted in our day.
Let’s think about the foundational practice of prayer for a moment. I have been married for a good while (15 years). I love my wife. I love spending time with my wife. Our relationship is extremely valuable to me. I cannot imagine scheduling 15 minutes first thing in the morning to speak with her and then moving on with my day without exchanging another word. Although I don’t think this is possible, but even if those 15 minutes were the most heart-felt, authentic, and intimate words it would still fall dramatically short for me. The reason this would leave me so unsatisfied and empty is because I deeply desire to have a dynamic relationship with my bride.
This is the thinking we often apply to our spiritual lives. My thinking would be that I have a relationship with my wife and because of that relationship I need to carve away some relationship time with her each day and then I will have continued my relationship with her. To be clear, I believe that spending 15 minutes in the morning with your wife is awesome. However, if that is the degree to which you have minimized your marriage then you are in trouble. Even the moments where you exchange a 2 minute phone call in the middle of the day to make sure your calendars are together about little Johnny’s ballgame is relational time. The moments when you are sitting together and are so exhausted you do not have anything to say but you are still in each other’s presence is relational time. The relationship is cultivated in the balance of intentional and focused conversations as well as the 2 minute conversations in passing or the moments of speechlessness in each other’s presence. We cannot reduce the marriage relationship to 15 minute boxes we are checking off from our list each morning before we launch out the door to ‘move on’ with our day.
How often do we view our relationship with Jesus in the same way? This division of time between the sacred and secular has been so ingrained into our thinking that we have moments we spend with Jesus and then the rest of our day we ‘move on’ to the other things in our life. This is not what we see taught or modeled in the scriptures. The focused time with our Savior (whether 15, 30, or 60 minutes) in our day is fundamentally important. However, the reason we should start our days in that manner is so that we can then move through the rest of our days empowered and informed by a dynamic relationship with Jesus.
Those minutes at the beginning of your day are so important but so are the 2 minute interactions with him as you make a decision at work or are driving to lunch. Every moment of your life including the most mundane tasks are important to your relational growth with Jesus. I encourage us to think about all of our time as sacred (spiritual) time to be enjoyed to the fullest through the joy of knowing Jesus.
Do you wrestle with this during your day? Have you developed any ways which help you to not compartmentalize your relationship with Jesus?