"The next time you’re standing in your kitchen, bedroom, or at your desk, I want you to look at drawers. Yes, drawers. ...
"Sadly, many people who call themselves Christians live functionally compartmentalized lives. Whether they realize it or not, they have divided their lives neatly into two drawers: real life and spiritual life.
"The real life drawer is the one they dig into frequently and are most comfortable with. It contains all the stuff of everyday life, like their job, physical health, friends and family, leisure, money, possessions, and daily routine.
"This drawer dominates their thinking and their doing. It’s where they expend most of their emotional and physical energy, and where most dreams will be realized or dashed. ...
"Then they have a second drawer—the spiritual life drawer. All the “God” stuff goes here. It’s the drawer for Sunday worship, small group, tithes and offerings, short-term missions trips, and the evangelistic conversations with neighbors or extended family members.
"Yes, they believe in Jesus, his forgiveness, and the eternity to come, but these beliefs don’t have a radical impact on the way they think about themselves and life in general. Their faith is an aspect of their life, but not something that shapes everything in their life ... "
"Ask yourself: on any given day, what most influences the way that I think about myself and my life? What is the driving factor for the majority of what I think, say, and do?
"The biblical narrative and worldview only has one drawer—it’s called the gospel in everyday life. Everything goes in that drawer! Scripture asserts that you were bought with a price (the life and death of Jesus), so you don’t belong to you anymore. (Actually, because of creation, you never did belong to you!)
"God has a radical, single-drawer purpose for your life. The best word for that purpose is ambassador (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). The only thing an ambassador does is represent the ruler who sent them—every day, all the time, in everything you do.
"Therefore, your purpose in life is to make the invisible presence of Jesus visible in the lives of others. You are the look on Christ’s face. You are the tone of his voice. You are the touch of his hands. You are the physical representative of his grace.
"This is your mission in every situation, location, and relationship of your life—to make the grace of the invisible King visible. ..."
"We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20, NIV).
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Matthew 6:24, ESV).
Rock tumblers are used to bring out the beauty of certain rocks and minerals. But before the tumbler is turned on, along with the rocks, an abrasive grit is added to the mix. As the motorized barrel turns, the grit between the stones creates friction, which wears off the rough edges, smoothing out the rocks. This transforms them into brightly polished stones.
Living in a random environment leaves us exposed to an abrasive world. Although the rough and tumble of it all may seem chaotic to us, the churning has the very specific goal of chipping away at anything about us that doesn’t look like Jesus. James called these burnishers of the soul “trials of various kinds” (James 1:2, ESV). Paul referred to them as the “all things” that work for our good (Romans 8:28, NKJV). Every bit of grit they bring to the tumbler of life is intended to help us in taking yet another step in becoming more like Jesus!
Growing up, I heard my dad preach a sermon comparing different types of shoes to various people’s religious attitudes. You can imagine the application of such shoe types as the slipper, the loafer, the work boot, the Sunday shoe, the combat boot, etc. It was a clever illustration to encourage everyone to live a faithful Christian life and avoid a mentality that hurts the church.
Do you have a favorite kind of shoe? I’d venture to guess that you even have a favorite pair or couple of pairs of shoes. Usually, you’ll find me either in a pair of cowboy boots or in a pair of running shoes. What goes into why you favor a pair of shoes? Quality? Style? Comfort?
To make a spiritual point by referring to footwear is more ancient than my dad’s efforts to do so. No less than the apostle Paul referred to “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). Indirectly, Isaiah and Paul give attention to this very idea by complimenting the “beautiful feet” of those who bring good news of good things (Isa. 52:7; Rom. 10:15).
You would think, to borrow dad’s analogy, that some “shoes,” figuratively, shouldn’t be adorned as part of our Christian armor. Flip-flops aren’t good (Jas. 1:8). Neither are skate shoes (Rom. 12:11; Col. 3:23). Camouflage boots can be a liability (Rom. 12:2). It would seem counterproductive for a preacher or teacher to favor tap dancing shoes (2 Tim. 4:3), since our responsibility is to stand firm (Eph. 6:11,13,14).
Staying with the analogy, some shoes are excellent if used according to their design. Running shoes are essential to running the Christian race (1 Cor. 9:24,26; Heb. 12:1), but not to run in vain (Gal. 2:2; Phil. 2:16), run with sinners to sin (1 Pet. 4:4), or run after false teachers (Luke 17:23). Work boots can be misused in prioritizing occupation and career over the kingdom, but when used in the exercise of our talents and resources to grow the kingdom they are worn well (Mat. 5:16; 9:37-38).
You get the idea, and you can no doubt add to the analogy with your own ideas. But, spiritually, what is your favorite pair of shoes? John the Baptist suggests that Jesus, like most all others of His day, wore sandals (Mark 1:7). John felt unworthy to even untie them. Yet, Peter, later on, would say “follow in His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). Jesus’ shoes carried Him to Samaria to minister to the woman at the well. They presumably walked on water. They took Him to Lazarus’ tomb. He doubtless wore them as He ascended the mountain to preach the greatest sermon ever delivered. Was He permitted to wear them as He carried His cross to Calvary?
We aren’t qualified and worthy to be in His shoes, but, as the song suggests, we must be “trying to walk in the steps of the Savior.” Another hymn avers, “Where He leads me, I will follow.” Our favorite shoes should be the ones revealing the footsteps of Jesus. We follow Him and anyone can follow us (1 Cor. 11:1). They will help us walk in good works (Eph. 2:10), in a worthy manner (Eph. 4:1), in love (Eph. 5:2), and carefully (Eph. 5:15).