Living the Sacred within the Secular

posted in: Woman to Woman Newsletter | 0

By René Allen

A familiar voice sneered, “Praying to the copier?” as I was clearing it of yet another paper jam. The CEO loved to take a jab at me at every opportunity. I would just smile and tell him that someone needs to keep the office running smoothly. Sometimes I’d call out triumphantly as I pulled out a piece of paper and declare “Ha! It’s a boy!” as though I’d delivered a baby in the labor of clearing the paper jam. Keeping my sense of humor was really important. Then I’d process at home – praying for wisdom, peace, and healing for my wounded spirit.

Ever wonder about the “how” of sharing your faith? Is it a personality characteristic, a spiritual gift, an imperative? Have you wondered whether it is safe to share the gospel or even to mention that you’re a Christ follower in this age of Christian nationalism, post-millennialism, and extremism? How to fulfill that mission – living the sacred within the secular?

Me too!

I’m a friendly person, but that is not all it takes to live out my faith, bearing witness to the miracle of being made new in Him. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves.” Sharing your faith requires humility. 

In this world, you live the sacred within the secular. When people express their take on current events, personal worries, or complaints, it’s helpful to be intentional in listening and engaging – and in not shrinking back from opinions stated with … gusto. It requires having those hard conversations with speech laced with humility, gentleness, patience (sound familiar?) while leaving space for others to give an opinion, giving grace for where they stand – especially when they may not take the same Christ-like posture in the exchange.

At work this meant that when my coworkers had an opinion or asked for my thoughts, I would state a scriptural answer and, at applicable times, offer to pray. Since I didn’t cite the Bible reference, people didn’t realize they were hearing the Word of God. But some wanted me to write down what I’d said so they could remember, because those words sparked something in them. Those were the people whom I would inform that the words of wisdom I’d used came from the Bible. Great conversations started with these seeds planted/watered.

And at work, it didn’t take long for other Christians to find me. They were from all over the world, and we would pray for one another and share verses of encouragement. Many were afraid because we could have been given a warning or, worse, fired. 

There was something emboldening in that sense of community – a strength that was beyond our summoning. A power that surpassed our fear of being issued a warning or being fired. An internal fire in our spiritual bellies that compelled us to love beyond our fear. 

“Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what was written, ‘I believed and so I spoke,’ we also believe and so we speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God.” 2 Cor. 4:13-15

“Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.” 2 Cor. 5:11

“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. No, we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Eph. 2:9,10

It’s our calling, in our context, to live out the sacred within the secular. You can do it! He will do it through you.

René Allen’s love for God and His Word brings hope, encouragement, and joy into her mentoring and women’s ministries. As a pastor’s wife, mom, Bible study leader, life coach, author, and mentor, her personal warmth and experience are used by the Holy Spirit to connect powerfully with believers and seekers alike. She and her husband have been in ministry for over 30 years, with the past two decades in the New England area.