Day 167: Christian T-Shirts and Secular Music (1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8)

“Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house that he had built for her, for he said, “My wife shall not live in the house of David king of Israel, for the places to which the ark of the Lord has come are holy.””
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I was a high schooler in the 80’s, and then a youth minister in the 90’s, when the Christian subculture really started to take root. We talked a lot about the difference between the sacred and the secular. There was Christian music; which was appropriate to play on the bus on the way to youth camp, and then there was secular music, which was what you listened to on the way to football games.

There were Christian T-shirts, and if you wore them it helped your witness. But if you were at a party on the weekend and were wearing a Christian t-shirt, that hurt your witness.

There were Christian bumper stickers and chrome “Jesus” fish you could put on the back of the car. They were meant to let everyone know you were a Christian, but they were also supposed to remind you to act like a Christian, even when you were stuck in traffic.

You could honk, but only if you loved Jesus.

Of course, teenagers are great at finding loopholes. If you wanted to drink at a party, you just made sure you left your WWJD bracelet at home. If you were in your car with the Jesus fish on the bumper, you would only cuss out other drivers if your windows were rolled up. If you went to a raunchy movie, you tucked your cross necklace into your shirt, and you made sure the shirt you were wearing wasn’t from last summer’s youth camp.

We aren’t kids in the youth group anymore, but we still draw lines between the secular and the sacred. So it’s pretty easy to see what Solomon is doing when he builds a separate house for his Egyptian wife. He seems to be saying, “She’s part of my secular life. It’s fine to have her, as long as I keep her separate from my sacred life.

Here’s the problem: if you are a follower of Jesus, there is no part of your life that isn’t sacred. There is nowhere God isn’t.

See, we tend to look at our life like a waffle. We divide it up into compartments, labeled “church self;” “work self,” “social media self,” and so on. And we treat the involvement of God in our lives like maple syrup that we can pour into a few squares of our waffle and leave the others untouched.

But our lives before God aren’t waffles. They are pancakes, and the Holy Spirit has to be poured over every part of our lives; soaking the top and running down and in between every layer. There should not be any part of our lives that God isn’t involved in. Compartmentalizing is incompatible with a Spirit-filled life.

There is nowhere God isn’t. Solomon thought he would be okay if he just kept his pagan wife away from God’s temple. He forgot his own prayer of dedication:

“Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!
‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭8:27 ESV‬‬

Centuries later, Stephen would remind his audience of the same thing:

“the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭7:48-49‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Beloved, we are the temple of God. Wherever we go, God is. There is no division between the sacred and the secular. The T-shirt you wear isn’t what bears the image of God. You do.



One response to “Day 167: Christian T-Shirts and Secular Music (1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8)”

  1. […] In a previous post, I talked about Solomon’s faulty reasoning that he could keep his foreign wives away from the Temple and still be good with God. Solomon mistakenly drew a dividing line between the sacred (Jerusalem) and the secular (everywhere else). […]

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