Integrity and the Compartmentalization of Faith

Integrity is a non-negotiable–not just for leadership but for life in general. Integrity is the purity of character that influences every part of a person’s life to the degree that what you see in public is what God sees in private. Integrity is about more than the absence of bad habits. It’s the presence of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life producing genuine character. To have integrity implies that you are whole or complete.

One of the enemies of “wholeness” is the compartmentalization of faith. We live in a world of “lists” and that list mentality has negatively impacted our ability to live with integrity. As a result, we create compartments in life and often organize those compartments into two major categories–sacred and secular. Author and professor Dallas Willard has observed, “There truly is no division between sacred and secular except what we have created. And that is why the division of the legitimate roles and functions of human life into the sacred and the secular does incalculable damage to our individual lives and to the cause of Christ. Holy people must stop going into “church work” as their natural course of action and take up holy orders in farming, industry, law, education, banking, and journalism with the same zeal previously given to evangelism or to pastoral and missionary work.”

The truth is when God redeems your life, he redeems all of who you are. He doesn’t just redeem your spiritual life, but he redeems your work life, family life, recreational life–essentially all of you. Your life is not divided into “sacred” and “secular” categories. Rather, God calls you to be holy and to view every arena of life through a missional lens. Therefore, when God redeems you, He invites you to be on-mission with Him. He invites you to participate, as Chuck Colson says, not only in the great commission, but also in the “cultural commission,” using your God-given influence to shape culture for good.

Integrity cannot exist when our faith is compartmentalized. True integrity de-compartmentalizes our lives and makes us one person–whole and complete. When you lack integrity, a different you shows up in each arena of life. It’s like a spiritual multiple personality disorder–the people around you never know which you will show up at home, work, or church. But God invites us to a life of integrity where He is at the very core influencing everything we do and every arena of life. God-directed integrity removes a compartmentalized faith and creates one you in step with God’s work in you and in the world.

Questions: Do you compartmentalize your faith? How has this affected your integrity? What needs to happen for your life to represent the wholeness and completeness associated with true integrity?