God desires for worship to fill up our whole lives, to actually "spill" out into everything we do and in everything we are. One of the biggest threats to a genuine faith journey is the temptation to compartmentalize our relationship with the Lord.
Let Your Worship Leave the Temple
In 2 Chronicles, King Solomon built and consecrated an amazing temple for the Lord. This was a big deal because it was the first time God's presence was brought to the center of Israel since they had entered the land. God finally would "dwell" with the people of Israel, and the physical temple was an example of reoriented spiritual priorities on behalf of the people.
What made this consecration especially beautiful? All the people came and worshipped. It wasn't just Solomon who was worshipping God. It was the whole people of God.
The author of 2 Chronicles tells it like this:
"Solomon consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the Lord, and there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar he had made could not hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat portions."
-2 Chronicles 7:7
This seems like a small detail, but in fact, it's a huge deal if you understand the history of Israel. This people went back and forth on serving God, and this manifested in their worship. They would often hold parts of their income and belongings from God, the parts that should have rightfully been His. They even offered sacrifices to other gods as a way to win favor and protection from foreigners. They lived fickle lives guided and dominated by their feelings and the influence of others.
But imagine it--in this scene, we see a people so dedicated to worshipping God that the sacrifices they brought couldn't even fit on the altar! Their worship physically spilled out from the temple. The portions of animals sacrificed to God were overflowing.
I ask you:
What would it look like for worship to "spill out" into every part of your life?
For your sacrifices to the Lord to be overflowing, not limited?
For your heart to so desire serving God that there exists no stinginess in your time, money, or resources?
The sad truth is this: we tend to compartmentalize God. We worship Him on a Sunday morning, but we hold back parts of our heart the rest of the week. We might protest this, but the spiritual condition of our hearts is always manifested in what we are willing to give to God in our physical life--I mean practically, in our time, and our treasures. Worship is a life fully given to God. We can't trick God--He knows how deep we are allowing Him in, and how wide we are allowing Him to "spread out" into our lives.
Solomon: The Mighty Compartmentalizer
Solomon's life serves as a warning of what can happen when we don't actively invite God into every part of who we are. Solomon built a great empire unto the Lord. Yet God ultimately took the kingship from Solomon's descendants. Why? Simply because his heart was divided. And the spiritual division of his heart was clear in his daily life. It was most clear in his relationships with his wives and concubines (some say he had upwards of 1,000). For example, consider the mention of Solomon's first wife: Pharaoh's daughter:
"Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the City of David to the palace he had built for her, for he said, “My wife must not live in the palace of David king of Israel, because the places the ark of the Lord has entered are holy." 2 Chronicles 8:11
Solomon lived a compartmentalized life. In one part of his life, He was the holy king who built the temple of the Lord. In another part of his life, he was slave to the whims of his wives and concubines. Again: this spiritual condition is clear by how he physically divided his life. His Egyptian wife couldn't live in the palace near the temple because of her Pagan practices. Evidence shows this physical division of his space just got worse as he accumulated more wives and concubines. He even built altars for the women to worship other Gods where they lived! Imagine: the representative of God on earth for the people of Israel, their King, built altars to worship other gods because of his divided heart.
I challenge us today to ask:
Is your worship of God spilling out into all parts of your life, or are you keeping God in a compartment?
Are you content to build idols and altars in the area of your finances, your time off, or your relationships?
Is this spiritual condition clear in how you physically divide your life? In other words, is your worship different on Sunday morning than with friends on Saturday night or at work on Monday morning?
The story of King Solomon serves as an important warning: it tells of the power of relationships to influence us. We must be careful and vigilant that we are representatives of God, refusing to bow from the standard of his call in our lives, even in our "secular" activities, relationships, and friendships. We must rely on the wisdom of God to know how to love without blending in, to let the presence of God spill onto others and not the reverse.
The Power of an Undivided Heart
At the end of the day, it all begins with an undivided heart. The physical flows from the spiritual. In other words, we don't have to try and "fix" our finances, witness with friends, etc. if we know that we haven't been giving God our all. Instead, God desires our heart FIRST, and then He will convict, encourage, teach, and discipline us in the way we should go in all areas of our life. This is the power of an undivided heart. God can transform any heart that fully desires to give Him all.
Are you ready to pray a bold, scary, wonderful prayer that can truly transform your life?? Then pray for an undivided heart!
Prayer for an Undivided Heart:
God, please search me and know me, and reveal my heart to me. Show me any ways or areas of my life that are held back from you or displeasing to you. I now confess any areas of my life that I know I have been keeping from you: (name these specifically now).
I ask for forgiveness and thank you for the freedom we can freely receive in Jesus to begin anew every morning.
Convict me, Holy Spirit, so that I can't continue living in a divided way. I love you and truly desire to serve you with my whole life, even if I have a long way to go. I open myself up to your teaching, guidance, and correction. Please never let up on me until worship overflows into every part of me. Help my love for you increase so that worship spills out of me to others. Help my light shine before you and before men. Bring people in my life to help me along this journey that I can help as well.
Thank you, Lord! I love you! I pray all this in the powerful name of Jesus, who is worthy of all the praise in all my life. Amen!