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Sacred vs. Secular

The term secular used to be thrown around quite frequently in Christian circles. It was usually intended to show a difference between Christian and non-Christian music (mostly), but also art, thought, etc. Simply stated sacred is for God, and secular is everything else. The intent of these terms was to encourage the believer to remain pure (holy) in their thinking and overall internal spiritual climate. The problem is that these terms caused an unhealthy differentiation, in that people to saw their church/spiritual life and all there others aspects of life separately. This is a massive problem!

Biblically, the concept of sacred and secular does exist, but not the way we in the 20th and 21st Century, process and communicate it. Sacred was all about the Holy, that which was for God’s use. The greater thought was that all things sacred would change everything else. God’s Holy presence would alter and adjust our lives where His sacredness would always be in our minds, hearts, and ultimately seen in our actions. Conversely, it was the goal that our secular thoughts, perspectives, and actions would be drawn to His sacredness, and we’d become more sacred. To say it another way, the sacred was always supposed to challenge and change the secular.

The problem is that people have kept the holy/sacred in its own segregated place, and when they enter work, school, restaurants, etc., they somehow feel like their relationship with God doesn’t enter. They can act spiritual in church, small groups, bible studies, and prayer meetings, but God’s sacredness mysteriously disappears by the time they enter into the rest of life. The result…hypocrisy! This was not and has never been the goal of God for His people.

The Bible says, “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill…” Matt 5:14-15 MSG

 “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 MSG

 It’s clear that our relationship with God is supposed to be taken to the world. It is echoed throughout the Bible. The 1 Peter 2:9-10 passage takes it one step further. By calling us sacred, we are to go into the secular to make a difference. The sacred and the secular were always meant to come together…but the how is just as important!

The reverse (secular impacting sacred) is not endorsed by sound Biblical teaching. It was never the goal of God that the secular would come in and define and defile the sacred. Since the moment God’s presence began to dwell amongst mankind, we were warned to remain untainted by sin and all of its secular-ness. We are warned to not allow this world’s culture and perspectives to change who we are and how we live.

 “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father.” 1 John 2:15 MSG

I believe a dividing line is being drawn. It is between those who use their sacred to impact the secular and those who abandon what is sacred because of their love for the secular. When we take our sacred and holy into the secular and sinful world, we make it better. When we let the secular and sinful taint our sacred and holy, we get worse. This is not a popular truth, but it is true nonetheless. We can never forget that there is a God who is infinitely Holy/Pure/Sacred who is welcoming us into his cleansing presence and he expects us to carry that same presence into the secular world.

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