Balance: to have an equality or equivalence in weight, parts, etc.; be in equilibrium
Also defined: to arrange so that one set of elements exactly equals another
We all strive for balance, don’t we? I know many times I’ve said: “I just need more balance in my life.” It all becomes a balancing act. How much time can I devote to homeschooling, while still keeping up with my house? How much time can I spend online while still keeping up with my work? How much money can I spend without digging us deeper into the pit of debt? How much time can I let my children spend watching TV, so I can accomplish something around the house, while still fostering in them the desire to play and use their own imaginations? How much time can I devote to volunteering while still caring for my family? How many nights can we have a pre-arranged obligation (sports, dance, small groups, etc.) and how many nights should we be home? Where do I fit in time to read my Bible? Pray? Exercise? Shower? Change everyone’s sheets? Switch the laundry?
Then there is the challenge to eat balanced meals! And no one agrees on what that is. Meat, no meat, one vegetable or two, whole grain or not, 3 ounces or 4?
The strain that living a balanced life places on us is at times like a weight that can’t be countered. Balance is about perfection, and last time I checked, I still wasn’t able to achieve perfection on my own.
Then I had a thought. This was another one of those, as I close my eyes, trying to sleep for the night, my mind won’t stop, thoughts. I sat up and really had to consider it…
Did Jesus live a life that culturally would have been considered balanced?
I have to guess, from what we know of His life, that no, He did not. We know from scripture (Matt. 4:1-11) that Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted forty days and forty nights. I believe that Jesus was not eating or drinking. He didn’t just give up sweets, or fried foods, or Facebook. He was not eating or drinking – for forty days and forty nights. Balance…where? I can’t see it. He was tempted by the devil to turn rocks into food, He was tempted to prove Himself as the Son of God, He was tempted to worship Satan in trade for the glory of the kingdoms of the world. Starving, in a way that I can only imagine, He faithfully resisted the devil and He sent Satan away from Him. What about that speaks of balance? No balanced meals, no balancing work with the call of God on His life. He was called into the wilderness for a time of what I imagine to be profound growth and preparation for what was to come. He was focused, but I don’t see the balance in this picture.
How about Matt. 4:18-20? Jesus called two brothers, Simon called Peter and Andrew, who were fishermen, to leave their life’s work, their careers, to follow Him. Balance…again I ask, where? He didn’t ask them to work 40 hours a week instead of 50…He didn’t ask them to devote an hour on Wednesday night to Him. He didn’t ask for lip service, He asked for life service. He didn’t want to be balanced in the midst of a prosperous career, a healthy family life, the right shows on TV, the right night to go to church. He wanted to be the center of it all and He wanted them to live with their focus on following Him.
How about Matt. 14:15-21 when the 5000 men, not including women and children, had followed Him to the desert, listening intently to His words? He didn’t stop them all and send them to pack a picnic, He didn’t stop feeding their spirits so that they could go feed their bodies. Balance… you got it, where? He didn’t stop meeting their deep inner needs to worry about their bodies. Granted, He was Jesus and He performed a miracle, but He was more concerned about their hearts than their stomachs.
Or how about the Savior of the world, hanging on a cross, condemned, taking all of the sins of the world, paying the price for every sin we’ve ever committed, yet having lived an innocent life? He had not sinned before God, not once. Yet, He died for all, and more personally, He died for me. He had a calling on His life, one that required Him to live an out-of-balance life, yet He lived it perfectly. He knew that His power came from the Father, and He was at all times giving His Father the glory that is rightly His.
So today, as we are pressured to find the right balance, let me challenge you to tap into the source of power Himself, pray earnestly. Let God fill you to overflowing, and let Him draw you out of your balancing act. Let Him guide your steps, and follow His calling on your life. Don’t let the cultural drive to make life a balancing act become a distraction from what God has for you. See, the devil is a master at changing our focus, because he knows that when we connect with God and live into our God-given, God-glorifying potential, that he will be squashed. The devil holds no more power over us than we allow him, yet he is a master of disguise. It’s not often that the devil will tempt us with something so boldly labeled as sin, with a neon light flashing “Disobey God!” – because most of us would run away, or cast him out with the name of Jesus. The devil is powerless against the name of Jesus.
The devil is a master of distraction. He knows if he can slow you down, if he can shift your focus, if he can captivate your attention, then you will not live into the power that God is ready and waiting to give you. He knows that if you are distracted then you will not be as effective in the body of Christ, the church, your family, or ministry. If he can distract you, then he can prevent the salvation of another. He knows that once you’re saved he can’t erase the grace that God has covered you with, but he does know that once you’re saved, if you live your life ineffectively, if you live your life distracted, he can prevent you from bringing another person to the grace of God, to the gift of salvation.
So, is balance a necessity or a distraction? What other distractions have you struggled with? What distractions have you overcome?
Until next time,