For over two decades I’ve been using some version of the phrase, “faith for every sphere of life.” I first started thinking about this obvious nature of our faith (that it’s for every sphere of life) as I began a deep study of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Two of the books that helped with my “aha” moment were Richard Baxter’s Christian Directory and John Frame’s The Doctrine of God. (click here for more about Richard Baxter)
What attracted me so much to the idea of finally understanding our faith being authoritative and relevant for every sphere of life (besides the fact that the Bible teaches it) was that I, like soooo very many other men, had long been an adherent of a compartmentalized faith. Men, you know the drill: the Christian faith is fine for Sunday mornings, etc., but it has nothing to do with the rest of your life. It’s embarrassing to “say” out loud, but that’s the truth of where I was.
Since that time I have observed that a wholistic view of the Christian faith, whether practiced or not, is gaining some traction (at least by most folks in the church). The secular world would still prefer for the Church to remain silent about anything not having to do with worship on Sunday mornings. Faith, they say, is private. You can’t bring it into the public square. Of course, that’s ridiculous, and I’m not going to spend time responding to that. Others far more articulate than I have thoroughly dismantled such a view.
At any rate, over the years I’ve tried to use various phrases that capture my deep and abiding commitment to the notion that my faith applies to every sphere of my life because Jesus Christ is Lord over every sphere of my life. (My most recent “brainstorm” for this idea that has helped me wrap my mind around it is Kingdom Discipleship.) I have loved Abraham Kuyper’s quote that says something along the lines that there is not a square inch in all the universe about which Christ does declare, “Mine!”
As a United Methodist, I have naturally rejoiced that John Wesley took just such a view of the Christian faith. He called it Scriptural Holiness and said that it was his purpose in life to spread Scriptural Holiness over the land (which, for him, was England). For Wesley, holiness was inward and also outward. It was personal and it was also social. There was no picking and choosing. Faith should permeate every aspect of a Christian’s life – marriage, parenting, work, economics, politics, education, the arts, personal morality, relationships, civic duty and serving the community, etc., etc., etc. One book that has served me well in attempting to understand this concept from a Wesleyan perspective is Mack Stokes’ little book, Scriptural Holiness for the United Methodist Church. I highly recommend it… if you can find it. (Update: Joseph Slife at Methodist Thinker, sent me this link to purchase Stokes’ book. Many thanks Joseph!)
Brothers, I would encourage you to pray over what it would mean to you to understand that there is not even the smallest corner in your life over which Jesus Christ, as Lord, does not shout, “Mine!” How would acknowledging and submitting to that truth change your life? How would it bless your relationship with your family and friends? What consequences would that have for you in your workplace? Can you imagine the possibilities? Men, Christ is calling you to follow him in every sphere of your lives. Do you hear him? Will you follow him?
Grace and Truth,