Do you try to choose the areas of your life that you want to experience God in? Most of us would admit that we tend to compartmentalize our lives and give God freedom to work in one area but not in another. Some examples are:
- It may be easy to let the Holy Spirit into our family lives, but not in our work lives.
- We may bask in his presence on Sunday morning but shove him aside on Monday.
- Some of us may ask him to intervene when we need healing but not rely on him when financial difficulties arise.
- We may expect God to work in our spouse’s life to make them less argumentative, but not allow him to address our provocative nature.
However, God is active in every area of our lives whether we recognize it or not. He is still present even if we try to voluntarily exclude him.
God in Every Area
The Psalmist reveals that there is no area of our lives that God is not present in.
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways…”
“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”
(Psalm 139.1-3 & 7-8, NKJV)
Opening up one area of life for God to work while closing down another is a real issue. However, it is an issue that has nothing to do with God not being in that closed off portion because God is everywhere. As the Psalm says, “You understand my thought afar off… where can I flee from Your presence?”
The Area of the Heart
If a Christian is letting God work in one area of their life and not another, you may hear someone explain it by saying that “their heart is not right.” This phrase is built upon the premise that the human heart is sick and deceitful above all things (Jer 17.9). As the logic goes, this means we Christians are naturally inclined to operate in negative ways, like allowing God into one area but not another. So, if we allow God to work in our family life but not our work life, another Christian may say, “The reason why you’re doing that is that your heart is not right in that area.” However, this term is inaccurate because God has already solved the problem of our deceitful and sick heart. Ezekiel 36.26-27 (NKJV) says,
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
This deals with the heart problem completely. God renewed our heart upon conversion. Through salvation, God takes away our deceitful and sick heart and replaces it with a new pure one. It’s like putting a brand-new engine in a car.
God’ Spirit Within Us
In the verses from the Book of Ezekiel I quoted above, God also promised he would put his Spirit in us. This happened at conversion. Not only did God give us new hearts when he saved us, he also put his Spirit inside us. It is because of this that we are now God’s children and co-heirs with Christ (Rm 8.15-17). The presence of the Spirit inside us helps us respond to the Psalmist’s questions, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” Our response is, “Nowhere, because you are in me.” Moreover, the Spirit empowers us to live lives pleasing to God: “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
Renewing the Mind
Allowing God to move in one area of our life but not in another has nothing to do with God’s presence or the cleanliness of our hearts. Instead, it is an issue of the mind. God gives us a new heart, but he does not give us a new mind. With the Holy Spirit’s help, God leaves the renewing of our minds up to us. The Apostle Paul says,
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rm 12.2, NLT)
God does not want us to “copy the behavior and customs of this world.” God wants us to be authentic to the new creation he has made us. The way we become authentic is to “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” This reveals that change takes place through the transformation of the mind. If we fail to understand this then we will always incline towards trying to restrict God working in certain areas.
We need to renew our minds to the point where we realize that God is already in every area of our lives. As Paul says, “Then you will learn…” It is all about learning. We must learn that we cannot close off portions of our lives to God. For God, there are no such things as closed doors. He is always active in every area of our lives. We cannot say to God, “I want you in this area but not in another.” Indeed, it is when we are least aware of his activity that he is most active.
All Things Work Together
The Bible promises that God works everything together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Rm 8.28). The only thing we are responsible for in that promise is to love him. The working of all things together for our good, our calling, and his purpose for us are reliant on him. We must take comfort in this.
If you ever wonder where God is and why he is not acting, realize that he is always there and he is always acting. You only have to love him. God is present in every area of your life. If you fail to realize this, one day he will stagger you by bursting open the area of your life which you thought was closed. This experience may be positive or negative, but God will do it for your good. Therefore, I suggest you renew your mind to the point where you realize God’s presence in that area.