“Nice jacket!” I said to Stan as I sat down. “New?”
“No,” he replied, “I’ve had it for some time. It’s reversible and I turned the inside out so it looks like a new jacket.”
“Reversible jackets are really a great idea,” I replied. “Like having two for the price of one.”
“More like two for the price of one and a half,” Stan said with a smile.
“Or, two for the price of two!” I replied.
“The whole thing of reversible jackets,” Stan continued, “reminds me of what my faith walk with God is supposed to be about.”
“How so?” I asked.
“Transformation has to come from the inside out,” Stan replied. “And once I turn the jacket inside out, it’s supposed to stay that way. I’m not supposed to keep reversing it.”
“One day one way; the next the other,” I responded. “Is that what you’re saying?”
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “Once I have begun the process of transformation, it is to continue. It’s not to keep flip-flopping.”
“And,” he continued, “the process is to continue into all of the various parts of my life, not just some of them. I’m not to wear the jacket of transformation one way when I am doing such and such, and then turn it inside out when I’m doing something else.”
“Kind of like,” I responded, “wearing the jacket one way on Sunday when you go to church, and then wearing it the other side out during the week.”
“That’s one way to look at it,” Stan replied. “Another way to see it is that I am not to wear it one way when I’m doing certain things or when I’m with certain people, and then turning it inside out in other situations.”
Continuing, he added, “Some people describe that sort of behavior as ‘compartmentalizing’ faith. Manifesting being a Christian in some parts of their life, but not in others.”
“Is that a very common thing?” I asked.
“Afraid so,” Stan replied. “I’ve seen it in others and I’ve seen it in me.”
“How could a person avoid that?” I asked.
“It’s a choice,” Stan said. “I have to choose to be deliberate about my faith walk. I have to choose to surrender myself to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Not only surrender to His leading, but choose to follow.”
“Sounds a lot like discipleship,” I replied.
“Right again, my friend,” Stan said. “First I have to deny myself by not having a spiritually reversible jacket. Second, doing what God has for me to do by wearing the same jacket the same way all of the time. And, third, following Him wherever He wants to lead me while wearing the jacket of transformation.”
“Maybe reversible jackets aren’t such a great idea after all,” I replied.
“They serve a purpose,” Stan said, “just not in my Christian life!”
But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind; that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for all you provide for me through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your gracious and free gift of life eternally with you when my time here is done. Thank you, too, for the opportunity to pursue knowing you and Jesus on this side of eternity. Thank you also for the presence of the Holy Spirit who is in me to guide, help, and counsel me in being transformed into the image of Christ. I confess that too often I seek to look good on my own, rather than surrendering to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit that will change me from the inside out. Please help me in following your lead in giving all of me to all of you so that I am molded, shaped, and transformed just as you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you wear a “reversible jacket” in your relationship with God, depending on where you are and what you are doing? If so, why? What does it look like for people to not compartmentalize their faith, being one way here and one way there? If you find yourself putting your faith into compartments, how can that be avoided? Do you agree that such compartmentalization may be too common in the church? Why or why not?