Compartmentalized Faith – HomeWord Devotion

Compartmentalized Faith
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.
Matthew 12:33

There is a slogan commonly used when describing a trip to Vegas: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The idea is that when people go to Las Vegas they get license to do things they would never normally do, to act like they would never normally act, and to sin in ways they would never normally sin. So what if you cheat on your wife, this is Vegas! So what if you are irresponsible with your money, this is Vegas! So what if you…?

The problem is many Christians are living their faith this way. When you compartmentalize your faith the slogan becomes “What happens at church, stays at church” or “What happens away from church, stays away from church.” Many Christians are living out their faith only Sundays at church. And when they don’t feel like being a Christian, they stuff their church selves away until Sunday when they need to be good again.

Christians are called to be Christians not just some of the time, but all of the time. We are called to be Christ-like in all of our actions, not just some of our actions. When Christians live a compartmentalized faith, they do a great job being a good Christian at church on Sunday but come Monday morning (or even in the parking lot on the way out!) all bets are off. You fill up on Sunday with a dose of Christianity and respond as the perfect Christian, but come Monday when your co-worker is late with a project…the evil thoughts take over and start plucking away any good fruit that was being produced the day before.

The Bible says that we can be recognized by the fruit we produce in our lives. What kind of fruit are you producing? More than that, what kind of fruit are others noticing you are producing when they see you on a daily basis? Are you producing the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? The challenge of the Christian faith is being a Christian 24/7. The challenge is being a Christian not just when everyone is looking but also when no one is looking.

To comment on today’s devotional, click here.

GOING DEEPER:
1. What type of fruit is your life bearing?

2. In what ways do you live a life that is Christ-like, and in what ways is your life Christ-less? Pray right now that God would move you towards living your faith in all aspects of your life.

FURTHER READING:
Matthew 7:18-20; Matthew 12:33-37; Galatians 5:22-23

Kelly McFadden works with HomeWord’s radio broadcast and content teams. She and her husband Michael are the new parents of Campbell McFadden.

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Good HomeWord Devotional (today)

Help Me! I’m Stuck!
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.—Philippians 2:4

One day, a centipede walked by a tree where a wise old owl was perched. The owl asked the centipede, “You have so many legs! How do you know which one to move next?” The centipede froze in his tracks. He started thinking. He didn’t know which leg to move so he couldn’t move any. He cried to the owl, “Help me! I’m stuck!” The owl said, “My little friend, you are stuck because you are too focused on yourself. When you are focused on what is going on in the world around you, you have no thoughts about how to move. You simply move.” The centipede looked out to the horizon and saw the sun setting. “How beautiful,” the centipede said. Just then, his legs were freed and he began to walk again.

It’s been reported that Dr. Karl Menninger, a famous psychologist, once gave a lecture on mental health. During a question and answer session that followed his lecture, he was asked, “What advice would you give someone who felt a nervous breakdown coming on?” He replied, “Lock up your house, go across the railway tracks, find someone in need and do something to help that person.”

Both the story and anecdote above remind me that when we focus on ourselves – on our problems and circumstances – we can become inwardly paralyzed, preventing us from being everything that God intends for us to be, including serving others effectively. We can freeze in our own tracks.

Following Christ is not primarily an exercise in introspection, but rather of reaching out to others and lovingly serving them in His name. In times when I’ve been in tough situations, or have felt sorry for myself for some reason, I’ve experienced release from my anxiety by changing my focus to others and getting myself involved in serving. Routine self-evaluation is healthy. An obsession with self is not.

Today, if you are feeling paralyzed by the weight of a difficult personal situation, I encourage you to shift your focus from yourself to the Son and find someone you can serve in His name. The weight will seem lighter and you will start moving again.

Today’s Homeword devo: an example of Intentional Christianity

Jesus Help Me and to God Be the Glory
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.”—Psalm 54:4

Recently, I was searching on a website devoted to Johann Sebastian Bach Frequently Asked Questions (www.bachfaq.org), when I found something interesting. It seems that Bach often wrote the letters “JJ” at the beginning of his scores and the letters “SDG” at the end. What did these letters mean? JJ stood for the Latin Jesu Juva, which means “Help o Jesus”. So, it seems that at the beginning of creating his music, Bach was requesting Divine help. SDG stood for the Latin Soli Deo Gloria, which means, “To God alone glory”. It seems that at the end of creating his music, Bach gave thanks to God.

For myself, I know that I don’t have any talent on the level of Bach’s abilities to create musical compositions. Most likely this can be said for the vast majority of us. Still, Bach’s habit of asking for Jesus’ help as he began his work and then giving thanks to God when he was finished, plants within me the desire to be more intentional about including God in my day.

I would think that it would be easy for a person of Bach’s talent and giftedness to take God’s role in their life for granted – to begin to rely on self and to take some time to pat oneself on the back for a job well done! If a person of Bach’s talent and giftedness made it a habit to ask for God’s help and to give God thanks, how much more should we do the same?

In the end, it is to our benefit to be reminded that we are all dependent upon the Lord for everything. We really do need His help! We also benefit from giving thanks to God. It gives us needed perspective to understand that all we accomplish is from God’s gracious hand.

The Holy Alphabet


A beautiful devotion I stole from Home Word Ministries
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden from Home Word Ministries

Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, and I am very pleased with him. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout; he will not raise his voice in public. He will not crush those who are weak, or quench the smallest hope, until he brings full justice with his final victory. And his name will be the hope of all the world.—Matthew 12:18-21

Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know
Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee
Move out of “Camp Complaining”
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To “thank” is a command
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We’ll run the race with gratitude
X-alting God most high
Yes, there’ll be good times and yes some will be bad, but…
Zion waits in glory…where none are ever sad!*
*Author Unknown