If we have not met yet, I am Lydia McCord. New to The Everyday Exiles but have been producing Not for Loveliness since January on Blogger. I am so happy to be able to write to you now, here in this incredible community. I write because I want to join you in the journey. My faith is my life; for me, it’s all encompassing. From my prayer life to what I put in and on my body. It’s all referenced in God’s Word and I do not compartmentalize.
The first thing that is on my heart to share with you today as I introduce myself is a sickness that seems to be infecting our Christian’s called Dualism. Dualism is a fancy word for compartmentalizing. So why are we using a fancy word at all? Fantastic question love, it just so happens that the definitions that ole Merriam Webster’s gives us perfectly frames a really cool discussion about Biblical truth. Yay, right? I love when that happens. You will also get to know me a little bit through this discussion which is what I am aiming for with my first chat with you.
So, let’s look at this fancy word and its definitions:
du·al·ism | \ ˈdü-ə-ˌli-zəm also ˈdyü- \
Definition of dualism
1 : a theory that considers reality to consist of two irreducible elements or modes
2 : the quality or state of being dual or of having a dual nature
3a : a doctrine that the universe is under the dominion of two opposing principles one of which is good and the other evil
b : a view of human beings as constituted of two irreducible elements (such as matter and spirit)
The first two ways ‘dualism’ is defined is also spoken about in the Word of God in the Gospel of Matthew. (Great book btw, if you get the chance, seriously read it… or don’t leave it up to chance at all and just dive right in. I won’t even be offended if you ditch my blog to go start it right now, I promise.) In chapter 6, verse 24 Jesus states, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money).” (NKJV) Shew, right? Who is starting to sweat? Well, it gets worse. This concept is also spoken of in the last book of the Bible, Revelation. A church is condemned for being “lukewarm” otherwise known as on the fence. Not fully committed but not fully not committed. (Paging all of the commitment-phobes, the time has come for you to face your fears and commit to something. It will be terrifying, but I am here for you). In Revelation chapter 3, verses 15 and 16, the Word says, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (NKJV). Shoot friend, it says it all right there. Get off that fence post. You know why it’s uncomfortable? Because it’s really not a great place to be.
Lady, let me tell you, I remember the first time I saw this concept of ‘dualism’ in my life. This act of compartmentalization, luke-warmness, not fully serving anything. I was working at a Christian camp but partying on the weekends, dating a boy who did not follow or fear God and was walking with me down the “wide way” as it’s referenced. But I went to church, I worked at a CHRISTIAN camp for goodness sake, I even lead worship some Sundays. Like for real, wasn’t I doing okay? Maybe not great but better than (insert name of person we compare ourselves to and make ourselves feel better by how bad we think they are doing). Chillin’ on my fence post my heart was far from God and I felt it in my soul. We cannot serve two masters Lady. This leads me to talk with you about the third part of “dualism” or maybe the third way we see this concept at work in our lives.
The third definition, both parts a and b, of dualism are also referenced in scripture.
If we go back, part “a” stated that dualism is “a doctrine that the universe is under the dominion of two opposing principles one of which is good and the other evil”
Abstract yes, but nothing too big for us to handle. Let’s break it down into real talk terms and see what the Bible says.
The Bible tells us that Satan is the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 4). Ephesians chapter 2, verse 2 references Satan as the prince of the power of the air. It’s saying Satan has dominion over this broken world, right?
Well we know that Jesus is Lord and God has power over all, 2 Chronicles tells us this when it says that He is God in heaven, and rules over all the kingdoms of the nations. That means like, our government and everyone else’s governments all over the world. Romans chapter 13, verse 1 also tells us this when it says that all authority comes form God.
So, Satan rules over this world deceiving and devouring but God has power over all. In more detail, the world chose to be separate from God so evil roams freely, but one day it will be destroyed and those following The Lord will be reunited with Him. That is really fantastic news.
Okay, that was a lot but basically two rulers, one real ruler (all powerful, creator…etc.), one that gets some stage time right now (bummer but it works out for us in the end… and for all eternity).
Ephesians chapter 6, verse 12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (NKJV) this piece of scripture leads us into…
the 3b definition of dualism which Webster’s says is “a view of human beings as constituted of two irreducible elements (such as matter and spirit)” Somewhat still in the abstract but we can break this down real easy.
There are two things at war within us as humans, spirit and flesh. Spirit=godly, flesh=not.
We see this exact concept throughout the New Testament portion of the Bible. Probably my favorite section in the Bible that talks about this is in the letter Paul wrote to the Romans.
In chapter 7 verses 19 through 25 Paul absolutely nails the human condition. He seems to be crazy frustrated, which is absolutely allotted when discussing this predicament we find ourselves in, he says, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Now that is a lot of theology to sift through but the general idea, as we said is that there is this war within us between our flesh and our Spirit. One wants to serve God our Heavenly Father and the other our fleshly father Adam who sin entered the world by and who we inherit our fleshly nature from.
I felt that so strongly when I was sitting at my camp job realizing that I was for real, just “chillin’ on my fence post”. For the first time I saw the inconsistency and realized that it couldn’t work. Terrified that I, then a fellow commitment-phobe to those of you out there, would have to chose a master to serve, a way to go, a path to follow at the fork in the road.
Okay so we have seen that this concept of ‘dualism’ is supported by scripture, and in many ways condemned by scripture. We have to chose who we will strive to serve.
Now, the second part of my chat with you today, the part that I really feel led to stress to you and the part that hones in on the compartmentalization, is that our faith must encompass our entire lives, our entire beings, our very substance.
One of my favorite Psalms references our substance as it says, “For You (God) formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139, verses 13 through 16) (A Psalm/song/poetry that king David wrote to the LORD).
You are seen. More than that, God saw you before anyone else did. He formed your inward parts! He knows every piece of your being, He held it in His hands as He created you! That is intimate love Lady. You are loved. You were made with gifts and talents and passions that God has given you, built into you and He wants you to use them for His glory! That is what life is about, serving God until we get to go home to Him.
So no, my faith is not separate from my life.
When we try to tear the two apart we rip in half along with them, a shell of a human left on either side. When we separate faith and state we are left with immoral business practices, teens attempting to take their lives as young as middle school.
Nothing good comes from Christians only being Christians in the pews. We need to stop worrying about offending people, the truth is the truth. If we love them, we will want them to be in the light rather than the darkness. If we love God, we will want them to be in the light rather than the darkness. If we love God we will strive to serve Him in every aspect of our lives. I am right there with you Lady, it is uncomfortable but I will tell you from experience, it is a lot more comfortable than a stupid fence post.
So, as I write these blogs to you my lovely Lady, we will talk about every aspect of life through the lens of faith because every aspect of our lives must be intertwined with our faith, the two cannot be separate. We will talk about reading the Word and meditating on it, we will talk about caring for our bodies, we will talk about caring for our neighbors, we will talk about standing up for those who do not have a voice of their own, and so much more. God has instructed us through His Word in all of these areas and He will be our guide as we stumble through, trying our hardest to serve our Master together and working towards being educated on ways in which we can do that better. We will fall down and help each other up, we will pick up huge burdens and bear them together, all to the glory of God.
Thank you so much for hanging out Lady, see you next time.