There are very few absolutes in God's Word. Most things are represented by fine lines separating truth from error and right from wrong. The only way to walk on those fine lines and not fall is to exercise great wisdom. The minute believers want to start making everything cut and dry or "either/or" is usually when things start going awry and the balance is disrupted.
Walking on God's Word is much like walking on a balance beam. It is not that difficult to do as long as one keeps their balance. But, the minute that balance is lost, the result will be a lunging to the right or left and the inevitable fall. The "balanced life" is essential to being able to not end up on one's head on the ground.
When I was a youngster, I remember watching the Ed Sullivan show with my parents on Sunday nights. I can recall many shows where there were people holding sticks with plates spinning on top of them as they did all sorts of activities. I can also recall a man running from one stick to another keeping the plates spinning before they slowed down and fell off. I also seem to recall people holding huge stacks of plates as they did all sorts of things. The point is that in all these strange events, there was a need for great balance.
Isn't if funny how times have changed. If someone tried to put these entertainers on television now, they would be booed off the stage in a minute. No one is interested in watching people exercise balance anymore. They would much rather see plates crashing to the floor or broken over people's heads.
I remember going to a circus one time and watching a guy ride a unicycle on a high wire. The only way he didn't fall off was because of the balance he kept. Those who walk the high wire carry a long stick which helps them keep their balance. If they don't, they MUST extend their arms out from the sides of their body as they walk. Somehow this helps a person keep their balance.
An old fashioned scale like we see in a court has two sides and if one is heavier, it will be lower. If the two sides were the same weight, they would be level. On our cars, periodically we must get our wheels "balanced" by placing small weights at different places so the wheel doesn't "wobble". Once a month we receive a statement from the bank. We must then sit down and "balance the checkbook" to make sure our records jive with the bank's. As you can see, there are many different meanings for the word balance.
There are at least ten major definitions of "balance" which deal with everything from weights to money. One of those definitions deals with "harmony"; a state in which various parts form a satisfying and harmonious whole and nothing is out of proportion or unduly emphasized at the expense of the rest. The balanced life is vital to remaining peaceful when storms hit, unfazed when accusations arise, objective when bombarded with only one side of an argument and steady when others are wobbling to and fro.
As we strive for this balance in our lives, we must remember that the key to success is moderation. That which gets things out of balance is too much or too little of various parts and things in our lives. When too much time is spent playing games at the expense of sleep for instance; the resulting imbalance will manifest itself in physical problems. When too many candy bars and doughnuts are devoured instead of more healthy foods; the resulting imbalance in the body will yield excessive highs and lows as well as weight gain and sluggishness.
The Bible stresses moderation in all things. "Let your moderation be known unto all" is the clarion call to believers. By nature we tend to go off the deep end with things. We find a food or drink we like and next thing you know we can't live without it. Then once we are addicted to it, we are forced to cut back or give it up due to problems which arise. This type of thing is not limited to only those who are "obsessive/compulsive" but rather to everyone who draws breath on this earth.
Balance is an exceedingly difficult thing to find and even more difficult to keep. Most people spend a lifetime trying to achieve some type of balance in their lives only to finally find it on just before they die. No issue causes more self condemnation and disgust than our inability to maintain balance in our walks. It is as if we are doomed to running off on tangents, becoming immediately addicted to the next taste sensation and hopelessly devoid of logic when it comes to proper choices that benefit the body and mind.
Perhaps this is what Paul was speaking about in Romans 7 when he says; "Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this dead body?" The illustration is one of having a dead body tied to one's back so as to never escape it and having to drag it around everywhere. This dead body is the "old man" or old nature. That part of us which is alienated from God and which despises discipline causes us all the breakdowns in our lives which in turn throws our lives out of balance.
At times we are strong and able to tote around that dead body with comparative ease; but at other times when we are weak or tired that old man just drags us down and causes us to want to just quit. Until the Lord returns and grants us a new body fashioned like unto His, we must come to grips with the reality that everywhere we go we have the dead weight of our old nature on our backs.
Somehow through all this, it is available to reach a balance. Using the new man as a counter weight to the old; we can manage to walk and not constantly fall backwards into past mistakes and excesses. Truly the only way to maintain balance in our walk is to look to the Christ within us for strength and conviction to counteract the weight of the old nature. However difficult this may be, it is worth the effort, for it at least gives us a fighting chance to walk uprightly and not bent over under the burden of the dead body of the past.
Amen, brother! My dad always told me that to "walk the straight and narrow," you had to keep your eyes on the destination, not your feet below you, or what was to the right or left. He was an iron worker in his earlier years, and had to walk steel beams high above the ground. I believe the only way to keep from falling is to keep our eyes on Jesus, and the law of love, not on the things of the world...not even on the trappings of religion.
Good blog, brother.
"No issue causes more self condemnation and disgust than our inability to maintain balance in our walks."
This statement jumped out at me, maybe in a different way than you intended it but just the same it spoke to me this morning. I need to remember to look at me as God sees me and not as I see me.
Yes that which I see is the result of imbalance in my life. Now that you have so beautifully pointed that out to me, I will now have to seek out those imbalances and begin to get things back in balance.
Thank you for the wonderful and wise way you used illustrations to bring about you point in this blog.
As I read this blog I also thought about how when you start to get off balance, it can be so helpful to have someone come up alongside you to help you get balanced again. I know there have been times I've gotten off balance in the physical realm. I'm carrying something that is heavy or awkward. Or else, I'm having to walk on a narrow space between two snowbanks, make an awkward move or whatever. Having someone reach out and "balance me by straightening my load, take some of it from me, or extending their arm or hand for me to grasp a hold of can certainly make a difference in whether I reach my final destination or I fall flat on my face. I need to look in God's mirror more frequently to make sure I'm balanced and also to help me realize when others need could use another hand as well.
I sure feel like Paul.
It always seems that when I start to go off balance one way or the other, I can never find a correction point. I just keep going until I fall on my face. One thing I really love about this blog site and reading what others write is that it gives me balance. A helping hand is always right there when I need it.
thanks for the blog
Thank you for all the wonderful and wise comments. I have been thinking myself today about this word "balance" and all the various meanings it has. Gosh, I am hard pressed to think of an English word with a wider variety of meanings than this one.
It's kind of funny for when I started writing this blog I had a particular definition in my mind of "balance", half way through I had different one and by the end I had yet another one. Yet, I am not aware of this word being used in the Bible other than in reference to scales. Language is so cool.
Thank you for your additional insight into this subject.
....B2Y, were you and my brain in cahoots when you wrote this? I have yet to read a blog that is so pertinent to my NOW as this one is.
Actually, the interesting thing is that I've been struggling to balance my time on here versus my time with my family, specifically time with my 2 year old son.
I especially love the analogy you pointed out of the dead man, or old nature, strapped onto our backs.
Very well written, and thank you so much!