The computer I am using to write this article is running the Windows 10 operating system. The purpose of an operating system is to unify the functions of a computer in order to minimize internal conflicts. (At least that is the idea.) The operating system runs in the background, but it controls how the computer works. It will allow me to do certain things and it will not allow me to do other things. When I purchase a new program, I need to be sure that it is Windows 10 compatible.
Our faith is like the operating system of a computer. It should always be running in the background of our life. Our faith is intended to unify the operations of our life around the new life we have in Christ. It becomes the filter through which we evaluate the “programs” we allow to be installed in our life. As we face the various choices placed before us, we should always ask the question, is this compatible with my faith in Christ?
Too often today, faith is divorced from everyday life. Many people have compartmentalized their faith, so that it does not intersect with their day to day living. We are constantly being told that faith is a private matter; that it has no place in the public forum. This is a fatal error of thinking. If our faith is not integrated into everything that we do, then our faith is meaningless. We cannot have a private, intellectual faith in Christ, and then live by the values and standards of the world. That would be like trying to run Apple programs on a Windows system. They are just not compatible.
Jesus made it clear that we must choose which operating system we are going to follow. We cannot live with one foot in the world and one in the Kingdom of God. "No servant can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money." (Luke 16:13)
Once we have chosen to put our faith in Jesus, then the way we live our lives should reflect that faith. My favorite book in the Bible is James. I like James, because he is straight forward; he pulls no punches. James challenges us to live out a practical faith that matters in our everyday lives. He gives no quarter to a private faith that is hidden from view. Faith, if it is genuine, needs to be practical, not just theoretical. What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17)
Christ wants our faith in Him to shape every aspect of our lives. It should be evident in how we treat one another, how we do business, how we conduct our daily work. Paul saw faith in Christ as the operating system behind everything that we do. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
The message of the Bible is clear; faith in Christ is to be lived out in a public, practical way for all to see. It should be evident in our attitudes and our actions, not just in our words. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
How is your operating system working? A faith that really matters influences every aspect of life. We all have some incompatible programs running in our lives. It may be time to clean up our spiritual hard drive and realign everything with our faith in Christ. Because, how we live our lives matters.