I believe we all live our lives with a cascading set of hierarchies that we use to guide ourselves, to keep ourselves on the path we want to travel.
Your life is sort of divided into segmented, but partially overlapping, areas of interest and activity. Life is complicated. It’s the overlapping that makes it complicated, but you have, say, family life, community life, work life, church life, social life, along with other lives that intertwine these. These life segments are are grouped under various umbrellas, which vary from person to person. And the umbrellas are under umbrellas. The umbrella at the top of your hierarchy is your ultimate organizing principle.
For some people, it is work at the top of the heap. Everything else is organized under that rubric. And everything else is subservient to work.
For others, it may be family. Or it may be health and fitness. It could be possessions. It could be politics and interests of the nation. It could be a special interest or cause which rises above and organizes everything else. For some of us, it could be our own illnesses. And it might even be church.
My contention is that this ultimate organizing principle is, in fact, your religion. It is the locus of stuff that makes sense of everything else.
It follows that your religion might be your work, your family, your health, your politics, or even your church. How does that sound to you? Make sense?
Truly serving God with your whole life is really not a religion, but it also is, in a way. It is a conscious giving of yourself to someone. Mostly, I would describe it as a way of life. The “religious” part of it is only a small part. Most of it daily life, living in a way to puts God above everything else. There is no part of life that is unaffected by this commitment, this loyalty. It supersedes every other loyalty.
If one of the other categories in your heap becomes more important than your loyalty to God, then that is your religion. That thing has become the compass point you are headed toward. You’ve lost out.
True discipleship means making God the organizing principle of your life. It’s not easy, but it isn’t supposed to be. It’s a narrow road, and it seems to go uphill all the time and to be strewn about with boulders and pebbles and sinkholes. It requires discipline to walk that road.
Discipline and discipleship are related, you know.