This originated as a response to a blog I read, but don’t get me wrong, I agreed with the brother.
Balance; the Christian life is one that should be lived in balance.
I suspect that most think balance means living with one foot in both worlds at the same time.
How are you supposed to do that when scripture tells us that the friendship of the world is God’s enemy.
Look it up, James 4:4.
Now I suppose the next question is what would it mean to be friends with the world? The Greek word for friend is phlilia. The same root word used in Philadelphia, the town of brotherly love. It means to have a fondness for. If you think about it, this can really limit the way you feel about, and interact with the world.
I can hear the whining now, you don’t want us to have any fun. You have whatever you want, in your quest for balance. Just know that you will pay a dear price for this fun that helps create your own personal balance.
Take a look at the passage. You will see a man bristling with anger as he says this.
James 4:4 LITV Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever, then, purposes to be a friend of the world is put down as hostile to God.
To be an adulterer is to seek out another in illicit relationship. James is equating our fondness for the world with adultery, something that God despises, and warned Israel about on many occasions. Do you not realize that an aspect of the Great Tribulation period is a time of judgment and punishment upon Israel for their adulteries.
So, in your quest for balance James defines what it is not.
You give in to envy, ambition, boasting, denial of the truth, and selfishness, you have given yourself over to the demonic. The kingdoms of this world, that is what Satan called them, are filled with nothing but disorder and every evil practice.
James 3:13-16 NIV Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. (14) But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. (15) Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. (16) For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
As I try to find some place to gain balance, I see nothing in the world that will give me that, and yet James got right to the point in verse 13 by saying, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”
What is he talking about? Balance.
Of course that would mean “if I gave my life over to God,” but that is so restrictive. Perhaps, if all you can do is compare this life in Christ to gaudy baubles, then I suppose I could understand, but how can you compare, Love, the creator, the Word, and the feeling of being alive that you feel when you respond to his call and bring life to someone else.
Perhaps another concept of balance is being able to merely cope within the world’s system.
Yes, we have the admonition, “you don’t work, you don’t eat, 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
But maybe it is something more. Maybe people are really trying to walk with confidence in this world.
No, I am not saying you cannot go to work, have a business, or drive a car.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV (11) and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, (12) so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
Not that you need the respect of outsiders, but that your lifestyle is one that demonstrates a Godly life, and they see and want it.
Paul wrote to Timothy instructing him to:
1 Timothy 6:17-19 ASV Charge them that are rich in this present world, that they be not highminded, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (18) that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate; (19) laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the life which is life indeed.
In other words, use this gift of making money to do the right thing, not just to satisfy your selfish desires, and give into the adulteries of the world. The disciples were shocked when Jesus made the statement that it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Why did this shock them? Perhaps they had enough money to consider themselves rich?
Matthew 19:23-26 ASV And Jesus said unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. (24) And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (25) And when the disciples heard it, they were astonished exceedingly, saying, Who then can be saved? (26) And Jesus looking upon them said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Jesus had, only moments earlier, told the rich young ruler, to go and sell everything he had and give it to the poor, and come and follow me.
What would that have accomplished? It would have busted up an adulterous relationship the young man had with money, and shown him a far more rich and fulfilling life.
Let’s dispel something now. I am not against you making money. I am against money owning you, and there is a very thin line separating between what God wants, and what you want. Your motivation is purely selfishness, and God’s is giving out of love.
I find myself thinking God, if only I had those things I could share them with people.
But would I? Truth is, to some major degree, I get really tired of selfish people and would probably not share anything, because people would mess my stuff up. There it is, the truth, it is my stuff, the basis for a torrid, and adulterous affair.
You know what the strange thing is. Like one of those relationships in which I am taking something that is not mine to take, at the end of the day I feel some strange disgust about the intimacy I had with those things.
Here is my idea of balance.
The world and it’s draw, is this huge weight on one side, and living as Jesus did is on the other. The world’s weight is huge, ominous and actually trying to push us off the scales, while Christ, the creator of the universe calmly calls us to know him. Do not think for a minute that this calm quiet man is not capable of tipping the scales in his, and our favor.
So the bottom line for me is this.
The balance comes when I put the word of God into action in my life as I stand on one side of this scale, while lifting my hands toward the Glorious God that pours out his life and love toward me from the other side of the scale. Don’t think that the scale creates a separation between you and Him. It is only for demonstration purposes.
The day is coming when the harlot (the lust for power driven by greed) will be thrown off the scales, for Jesus, the Word, is the scale.
Excellent post Ozzie! Many Christians want to have it both ways. But the Bible tells us that we cannot serve two masters. As followers of Christ, we are in the world but not of the world. Spiritual balance is found in Jesus Christ–totally committed to His will and His way.
Thanks for sharing. God bless you.