“There’s a balance.”
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that said. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard it myself.
I’m fed up with the balance.
Christians, myself included, often have a fine time discussing (i.e. arguing) about the perfect balance for our lives. To read the Bible or let the Spirit lead you? To have complete faith or use your God-given intellect? To focus on your own spiritual life or witness to everyone you see? Oh, we’ve only gotten started. Where is the balance between righteous and unrighteous anger? Where is the middle line of being wise with your resources and giving away everything you possess? Where is the balance of [insert balance problem here].
It seems, when everyone on both sides of the discussion has used up their favorite comments, we all must shake hands and concur, “There is a balance.”
What? That’s all we can say? Did we really get anywhere? Chances are we already stand somewhere between the two extremes. Isn’t that good enough? Somehow in our quest for an answer we’ve come up with…absolutely nothing.
I want answers, people.
Furthermore, it’s nearly impossible to find that sweet spot, much less stay there. How long can I keep my footing? It won’t be long before a breath of wind catches me by surprise – and leaves me searching for “the balance” once again.
In my philosophy class last semester, we learned about Aristotle’s ethics theory – and the doctrine of the mean. Imagine a line, two vices on either end, the virtue in the middle. One end is deficiency, the other is excess. For example, the virtue of courage has the deficiency of cowardice and the excess of rashness. You can read more about it here. Thank you, SparkNotes. Anyway, we achieve courage – true courage – somewhere in the mean. Like the balance.
Now I do agree with Aristotle. I believe his theory of ethics is incredibly accurate, especially in light of the fact that he did not know the One True God. But I still don’t like the balance.
Because we think the balance is the answer, when only Jesus is the answer.
You see, the balance is another way of discerning righteousness and virtue. Perfection. When we try to find “balance,” we are trying to put our finger on the righteousness of God. He is the only perfect one. He knows what the balance is. And Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). In Him is all perfection, and – dare we say it? – the balance that we seek.
We follow Him, learn from Him, and get to know Him more. And He makes us like Himself. He Himself is our wisdom, sanctification, and justification. Now, when God looks down on us, He sees His own Son’s perfection – bought with His precious blood. He doesn’t see imbalance.
He shows us His truth in His Word. We must not study it as if we are only trying to find that hidden balance, deficiency and excess, or whatever else. We are to take it in – all of it – as His words of love and grace and goodness.
If we are ever to become unbalanced, let it only be that we are too consumed with Him.
Where have you seen yourself or others struggling with “balance”? What do you think is the best way to approach it?
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