To Think Like Jesus: Balance
One of the things that has stuck in my mind while growing up was seeing a tasting contest. Maybe you have seen one or two in your time; but if you haven’t it isn’t a hard thing to imagine. At a local fair there would be a pie, a cobbler, or cake someone made and you paid to get a chance at guessing the mystery ingredients. You would get whatever it was, plus the money.
As people would guess they would naturally have the foundational ingredients, things that cakes and cobbles have in common; like flour, milk, eggs, salt, stuff like that; that’s the easy stuff. But the hard part would be naming that distinct, that singular flavor that just seemed to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but no one could get it! One thing was for sure, you had better know your nutmeg from ginger, or you just wasted you money.
But as the day would move on and through process of elimination the mystery ingredient would eventually be found out and wouldn’t be a mystery anymore. Soon everyone would probably be making their next cakes and cobblers, and pies with that special ingredient proving that they knew what the mystery ingredient was.
That tasting contest was a very simple way to find out what everyone wanted to know. They just tasted, guessed and with time that found out the secret.
That’s kinda a good way to look at the Christian life.
Think of this, there are things in other Christians that I admire, things that challenge me, things that rebuke me, things that I wished were in my life; basically there are some things in the lives of others that leave a good taste in my mouth. Things that leave me thinking, what do they have that I don’t have?
Why isn’t my life like theirs?
Have you ever asked yourself what is the difference between those men and women in the bible compared to us? To be used of God like they were, what did they have that we don’t have?
Doesn’t it just seem that there are some Christians that give the impression that there is something, a mystery ingredient inside of them that just makes them rise to the top, something that just sets them apart from others. And we look at people like that and we either feel challenged to find out what they have, or we just give up thinking, “I’ll never be like them.”
If you haven’t been thinking like that, then maybe you should. One of the blessings of fellowshipping in a home church is that you see and meet other Christians that have been down the road of life further than you. You look hard enough you will see someone that figured out a solution to the problems that you are facing. And they have gone on for God! They didn’t use whatever it was as an excuse to stop.
I remember when I started admiring the lives of others who I respected as Christians. One of the mystery ingredients that I saw in the lives of other Christians which I wanted so badly was something called “balance”. What created this need in me, was that I was given to extremes which only proved to be more harm than good. What I mean is, I know Christians that read their bible more that they pray, and they think that they are really something special. But the truth is they are unbalanced. There are others that can pray like there’s no tomorrow, but they hard ever read their bibles. They’re unbalanced as well.
If you ever want to see what an unbalanced life looks like, just read about Peter. In all the gospel narratives you will find one example after another of Peter going to one extreme to another! One minute Peter just declares that Jesus is the Christ, son of the living God and in the next Jesus calls Peter the devil because Peter suggested that they skip Jerusalem completely where Jesus would die!
In the upper room Jesus took a towel and girded himself and started to wash the disciple’s feet. Jesus came to Peter and Peter said, “absolutely not!” You will never wash my feet!”
Then Jesus explains that this was meant to teach a lesson, then Peter pipes up; “Lord, not my feet only, but my whole body!” Don’t you sense Peter’s flip-flopping? There’s a word for that, vacillation. Going from one extreme to the next.
But after Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, in Acts 2, he didn’t vacillate anymore, he had balance to his life and walk with God! God used him mightly! Peter was consistent, faithful, and balanced! What a great change in Peter’s life!
Peter found something called balance and everything just seemed to be like it should!
I let make some statements that might help you think.
1. Churches need to be balanced churches. Just majoring one area of need to the point where other areas or forgotten, screams unbalanced!
2. Preachers need to be balanced in what they preach. Some, bless their hearts, only preach on prophecy, marriage, prayer, etc. There’s nothing wrong with those, but there’s more in the bible than just those three things!
3. Some churches only support missions in one country only. A lot of the others churches like us, have more missionaries to Mexico than any other country.
What is needed is balance that’s all!
Here in Luke 10 we see Jesus right in the middle of a good illustration of the need for balance! And from this we will see what Jesus thinks about balance!
Jesus comes to the home of Martha and Mary and Lazarus. By the way, Jesus will visit wherever he’s welcome!
Martha was busy as a bee, making sure everything was just right for Jesus. She was serving Jesus as well as the others. Her hands are probably dirty, her hair is all pulled back and out of her face.
Then there is Mary. Mary does nothing it seems to get ready for this meal, but only finds her place at the feet of Jesus. Just admiring him, she just wants to be close to him to hear him speak.
Here we see Martha’s compliant,v40 she feels like she has been left alone to serve and feels a little put out that she’s the only one caring for the Lord.
Jesus doesn’t rake her over the coals saying that she’s totaling in the wrong for doing what she does. Martha is not wrong because she’s serving trying to do her best. Neither is Mary totaling in the wrong for just wanting to be close to Jesus. But they both lacked balance!
I see the need for:
I. Balance in Serving God and Worshiping God.
Both are desperately needed! We need to worship and serve God, we need to do both and not just pick one over the other. Because we will end up unbalanced.
There seems to be two major types of churches today no matter what they are doctrine.
There are the ones that take one, two, three hours to have a worship service. They will sing for an hour or two then one preacher will preach for an hour, have testimonies, then another preacher will preach again and sing again. Until they get tried.
Don’t misunderstand me, now, because I’m for all those things. But some of these very churches hardly ever make any effort to win the lost, support missions, or just to reach someone. They are big on worship but not big on getting the lost saved!
Then there’s the others, who will bend of backwards it seems to have big days, campaigns, contests, give-a-ways, bus kids in from 100 miles away, just so that they hit their goal. They have every ministry you would ever thought of.
I’m not against all these things, I’m for them.
But among the busyness and bustle there’s an emptiness there, because the time for worship at home or at church is not being done sometimes. Just going through the motions.
Now, I’m not against any of these things, but I am against being lopsided, doing one without the other!
What is needed is to bring this busyness and sense of worship together, by being balanced!
We ought to be busy like Martha, having a hand in every way to reach people, while at the same time be at the feet of Jesus just admiring and worshiping him for who he is!
If we could put Martha and Mary together into one person, you would have the most balanced Christian!
When you start thinking, “Well, I’ll just worship God, while omitting serving in some capacity, you’re planning to be unbalanced. Yes, you might worship with the best of them, but you will miss out on some blessings and chance to be a blessing to others, that only come to those who serve others.
And vice verse.
I bet there are parts of the bible that aren’t clear to you, simply for no other reason that you just don’t have a servant’s hearts!
· There needs to be balance between our service and our worship!
II. Our Compassion and the Truth
The other area where balance is lacking is when it comes to being compassionate and up holding the truth. We are up hold and propagate the truth. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jud 1:3
Jude is speaking about the whole body of truth when he mentions “the faith”. We have to preserve the truth that others have gave the lives for, that others handed down to us, so we could give it to the next generation! We just didn’t think of this bible yesterday! We have to make sure that it goes on to the next generation like it came to us!
Because of that, there’s a sense of exclusiveness isn’t there.
One of my faults, is that I don’t have enough patience with guys like the Mormons, JFW’s and their like. Because I have the truth and nothing there going to say can change that, I steer clear of them. But then I remember that one friend of mine was a Mormon caught up in that mess. It took someone living a consistent(not sinless)Christian life in front of him, before he would even listen. And then he did and he got saved!
Some have so much compassion and love that the truth is crowded out and even missing. I remember growing up in a Methodist church. All my aunts went there, they are taught me in Sunday school, they all loved the fire out of me, would do anything for me! But I never recall out of this very loving people, ever being asked one time if I died would I go to heaven! They did great at ministering to all my other needs, but just let this other need of mine go!
There are churches like this today, they will love you to pieces, but never take you aside and ask you about your salvation. They are afraid they are going to offend somebody, like they are going to scare them from hell #1 to hell #2.
When I got saved I looked at them and said to myself that they would have let me die and in up in hell! Just because they didn’t want to offend me, or put me on the spot!
It didn’t take long to figure out which church really “cared”.
They had a lot of compassion but no truth!.
What is needed to balance the truth we have, with compassion.
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” Eph 4:15
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:” 1Pe 1:22
We must have a balance in our truth with our compassion, if we are to be what pleases God. Paul said it best, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1Co 13:3
· There needs to be balance between our service and our worship!
· There needs to balance between in our truth and our compassion.
III. Our Faith and our Morals
Have you ever met someone that was a good morally decent person, and to your surprise found out that they weren’t saved at all.
Then you met someone like Lot and Samson, who were truly saved but both lived in the flesh all the time. When they say to you that they are saved it does surprise you.
I wished everyone that said they believe the bible to be God’s word, and Jesus to be their savior lived like it was so.
There’s a lot of folks out there that have their faith in Jesus and him alone, yet don’t have the same morals that we see in Christ’s life from the bible.
I’m just saying that this is a disgraceful stain upon the church of Jesus Christ. The media has a field day when some great Christian leader “falls from grace” they say.
The only way to “fall from grace” is to go back to rituals, legalism, Judaism for your salvation, ignoring what Jesus did on Calvary.(Gal.5;4)
We are all at different levels of growth and maturity with the Lord.
When I didn’t have balance between my faith and my morals, I would confess it as sin and yield more of myself to God. Try again, and again, again, again!
There needs to be balance there for you testimony’s sake. The day will come like it did for Lot, when he pleaded with His sons and sons-in-law to escape with them and the angels, but the bible said they mocked him! “Lookie there, the old man has got religion” All those years of living selfishly in front of them could not be overcome!
They perished in Sodom because Lot’s lived an unbalanced life with his faith and his morals!
How do you bring these areas together and have balance?
Maybe there’s other areas that I didn’t mention but God did.
Admit, confess that you’re weak in whatever area it is!
Include that area in your life, on purpose. You’re not going to be out walking and suddenly fall into this area you have been neglecting.
Yield, more of yourself to the Holy Spirit’s control. Those areas where your out of balance in, that’s a good sign that you’re in control not Him! Just as the Holy Spirit moved over the face of the waters in Gen. 1, bringing order out of chaos, when he is allowed to have control he brings balance back into our lives.
God help us to think like Jesus to bring balance into our lives.