Remember learning how to ride a bike? It’s all about balance. Finding the midpoint between extremes of falling over to the left or right! Once you found your balance, you never looked back.
What is balance?
Defined as an equal distribution of weight in order to maintain an upright position; or to keep or put something in a steady position so it does not fall. Finally, it is also to offset and compare the value of one thing with another. From all of these definitions, it would seem balance is a good thing; it protects us from extremes which have the potential to hurt us.
In our busy world, “finding balance” seems to be a challenge and what everyone is aspiring to in some way. We can be so focused on a specific project that we completely “lose our balance”. If we are run down, worn out, stressed out, and burnt out we will probably be told we have “lost balance.” In fact, if we have reached our limit, we have “lost balance.”
As I have been “circumspect” in my life lately, preparing for a new season, I came across Ecc 7:15-18 where Solomon warns that a God-fearing person would be wise to avoid extremes.
I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people. So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself? On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time? Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes.
But finding balance as the world talks about it seems to be about finding a midpoint between extremes. We eat or drink in “moderation,” and although it is a useful principle, halfway between two extremes is also what we call: stationery, luke warm, neutral etc. Is this good balance?
In fact, finding balance is not a direct instruction from God, He simply asks us to follow His ways. Jesus said: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.(John 14:6)
In following God’s principles for life, we will find that our lives become balanced.
People often tell us to find balance, but God does not ask us to find a midpoint, or a place of moderation. Instead He asks us to avoid extremes that lead to sin and go against our conscience, and instead live closely to the way He calls us to in scripture (which may seem a bit extreme to people around us.)
Paul warns us to “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Peter says: “You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing.” 2 Peter 3:17
Anything pursued (even good things) to the extreme, has potential for danger in our lives.
Scripture warns us to think on our approach to each of the following so as to avoid extremes:
- Time: For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:…” Ecc 3:1-8
- Our Priorities: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matt 6:33-34
- Our Thinking: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil 4:8
- Our levels of Contentment: Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Phil 4:11
- Dealing with levels of temptation we face: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor 10:13
- Levels of fitting in with the World: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom 12:2
- Work and activity: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17
These are just a few areas that we are to think about because there is danger in the extremes! But scripture is the foundation on how to live our lives and we are encouraged to “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,” (Eph 5:15) in other words, being “circumspect.”
- Identified all the roles I play in my life: wife, mother, friend, daughter, housekeeper, life-coach, writer, manager, colleague, ministry partner, bible study leader etc
- Identified my current priorities, where I spend all my time…
- Identified the roles I feel stressed in, burnt out, tired of, frustrated with, disillusioned etc as well as the areas I feel good in.
- Examined good balance (avoiding extremes) in each area by asking:
- “What would be the extremes in this area of my life?”
- “To what extent am I testing the extreme in this area?”
- “Is this an area of my life I am neglecting?”
- “What would be God’s ideal in this area of my life.
- “What can I do, or change, to bring more wise living into this area of my life?”
Yes, we are to pursue good balance, which is avoiding extremes in the pursuit of a godly life based on the Word.
Father, teach me the way that I should go. Help me to be sober-minded, watchful and on my guard so that I follow your path for my life and not the path others would design for me, or the enemy would lead me into. Help me to be conscientious about spending time in your word, examining my life and then making corrections so that I will live wisely before you.