March 23, 2007

Keeping my balance . . .

Frequently I stand on one foot, like a stork. It’s a yoga pose, but I’m not into yoga. I just want to practice balance. Even though this pose does tone most muscles, I’m more concerned about tipping over when I’d rather be upright. The older I get, the more important this seems, yet I have trouble remembering to practice. It seems that I have to lose my balance before I remember to practice not losing it!

I’ve noticed lately too, that the older I get the easier it seems to tip over spiritually. Faith often involves holding to what appears to be opposing truths, keeping my hand on both rather than tipping into to one, to the loss of the other.

One of these areas is freedom and responsibility. In Christ, I can do all things. I’m free to pick and choose (except for sin, of course). My life is full because of that freedom. So much to pick from and my interests are numerous. But when my to-do list gets longer than the hours of the day, I’ve lost balance.

On the other hand, I’m also responsible to God for what I choose. Paul said, “All things are lawful to me, but not all are expedient.” He knew that God was not going to punish him if he decided to ‘go fishing’ for the rest of his life, but what good would that do for the kingdom of God? Could he glorify Christ on the shore of a river or in a boat with a rod and reel in his hand? Maybe, but the point is, what would expedite the job God called him to do?

Paul taught, and I believe it too, that my individual accountability to the Lord is important, and this applies to every area and experience of life. I’m responsible to Jesus Christ for what I do, not to the church or other Christians (at least not in the same sense), and will some day give account to Him for my life and actions.

Romans 14 says this: “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.”

In my concern to keep that balance between freedom and responsibility, I sometimes find it easier to look at someone else rather than deal with my own choices and issues. I’ve a long to-do list and can’t do it, so rather than get my balance back, I start harping about others who don’t seem to be doing anything.

Here is another area where balance is required. I’m to care about the Body of Christ and be concerned for the choices others make, but at the same time, I’m not to critically judge and condemn them when I think they are out of line. We are all in this together, all standing on that dratted teeter-totter, all prone to tipping now and then.

Romans 14 adds this, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”

In these and other ways, my Christian life is a balancing act, and life has a way of presenting all sorts of opportunities that call for balance. I don’t have to worry about forgetting to practice.

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