To define something or make specific. We define muscles. We define words. We define terms to an agreement.
My son’s muscles are achieving definition because of swimming. Each one is specific but not isolated. The muscles work together to keep us upright and walking/running. A more defined situation is desired by many. I have well-defined table muscle but that is irrelevant to the discussion!
As followers of Christ, we have intertwined the word definition with compartmentalization. Our culture has placed upon us an understanding that to define is to compartmentalize; to be pigeon-holed. According to this everything is isolated from other things. In the Creation account in Genesis we do not find this to be true.
6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters, separating water from water.” 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above the expanse. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse “sky.” Evening came and then morning: the second day. 9 Then God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land “earth,” and He called the gathering of the water “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
Definition reveals separation without loss to integrity. Too often our form of separation causes us to lose touch with reality. Our church life and work life no longer intersect. Our “old” friends are dumped for our “new and improved” friends. When we define ourselves as followers of Christ there will be natural separation. However, why must there also be segregation. Why is it suddenly secular and sacred? Why do we cut all ties? Why do we burn bridges that can be modulated into evangelistic opportunities? Definition will result in separation but it does not mean complete segregation. Jesus went to the sinners, the sick, and the sacred. Why don’t we?
Definition gives explanation not expulsion. God, after Day 2, had a planet with various atmospheres. The universe was still intact. The Earth was being further defined while still being a part of the galaxy and universe. The upper and lower waters and sky were connected because God deemed it so. The defining of these things did not suddenly cause expulsion from the universe. There was a not a moment where God said the earth was now better than all the other things and created a micro-universe. Yet, that is exactly what we do. When I redefined my life in college I had an expulsion of a huge amount of music. Good music. 80’s Music. Why did I throw it all away? Because I did not understand how to define myself as a follower without an expulsion of everything else. The old must become new. The old is gone and the new has come. Jesus did not throw his heritage away. He was still Jewish. He still went to the temple. He still partied at the festivals. He kept it all together with a higher purpose and so should we.
As we seek balance, we must define a few things in our lives. In defining yourself, your goals, and your ambition, do not lose sight of the higher purpose. The relationships you have are still valid. Be defined. Be toned. Be ripped. Don’t forget those around you need to see integrity. If in your separation you segregate they will feel abandoned and bewildered. Love them as you have been loved. Lead them as you have been led.