Imprisoning God

“The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation…because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)

The idea that faith should be separated from living out the rest of our daily lives has become conventional wisdom for much of our culture.  We hear the phrase, “separation of church and state” and apply it to other venues such as the workplace and the public square.  We are told that that our faith should be private, not to be shared with others or manifested in our words or deeds, particularly in the workplace.

This perspective is 180 degrees from God’s intention as evidenced from the words of Jesus and scripture.  Jesus said it was not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” in worship of him who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but “only he who does the will of my father.” He expects more of us than to just worship him on Sundays; he expects us to carry his presence into all aspects of our lives.

In the Parable of the Talents, he praises the two servants who were good stewards in multiplying the talents given them. (Mt. 25:14-30)  In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, God welcomes into his final kingdom those who have provided food, drink, clothing, shelter, medical care and prison visitation to those in need of these things. (Mt. 25:31-46)

St. Paul said, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)  Paul did not intend these words only for what happens at church on Sundays, but everything we do.  Later he says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if you are working for the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23)

This is a 24/7 exhortation meant for Monday as well as Sunday; the workplace, as well as our prayer closet or church.  God created us to work and take care of the garden of his creation, including the physical world and one another. (Genesis: 2:15) This is how we make ourselves useful to one another and thus to God. It is a divine assignment.

Ever since God became one of us in the person of Jesus it has been his intention to dwell not in temples or buildings, but in each of us individually, provided we invite him into our hearts.

There have been times when I have separated my words and deeds from God’s presence because I put him in a box.  The unfortunate thing when that happens is that his presence may not then be available to the people in my life who would otherwise be blessed by him through me. 

Do we imprison God, only to be released on Sunday, or do we let him be manifested in every aspect of our lives?

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