August 13, 2012

A balanced life

After a thoughtful and biblical response to a presentation on how to live a balanced life, Director of Counseling Services at Dallas Theological Seminary, Lee Jagers said, “I challenge myself to live my life in light of these ‘spokes of the wheel’ in a way that is consistently Christian and over the course of my life, with all its twists and contortions, to end up with a balanced benefit of each. But my concern is not so much balance as much as surrender to Him, yieldedness and abiding.”
The ‘spokes of the wheel’ that he refers to are these factors of life: financial, family, mental, work, social, physical and spiritual. Jagers mentioned that some Christians become polarized in these areas, such as physical care of their bodies (which is right and good) to the opposite of not taking care of themselves because God has promised us new bodies. 

Another example is the notion of self-denial. This is a biblical discipline, yet I can become focused on it to the point that it becomes self-centered, the very opposite of what God intends. A verse from Philippians speaks to this balance: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). I need to deny my fleshy desires, but also need to take care of myself without neglecting care for the needs of others.

Jesus is our example for balance. Consider these descriptions of His activities during a day of ministry.
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14)
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. (Matthew 14:23)
Today’s devotion asks if I am like Him in combining the two elements of my Christian life. Are my public duties, even the cares, business and duties I have as a wife and mother tempered and kept sacred by my “secret” time with God as I pray? If people in the world followed me through the busyness of life, would they trace my steps to a family altar and intimate, personal devotions?

Serving the Lord must be balanced by waiting on the Lord. I have learned that ministry, even in the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, is exhausting. If I try to keeping going without taking time to be renewed and recharged, I will burn out. The perfection of Christian character is a balancing act — balancing God’s work in me with my work for Him. 

Father, Jesus is always the best example in how to live well and to please You with whatever I am doing. Because He said He is preparing a place for me does not give me an excuse to avoid taking care of the place I have here. Because He will give me a new body does not give me an excuse to eat all the cake I want. Because You love me with an everlasting love does not give me an excuse to live like a pagan. Thank You for this reminder, and thank You for Jesus.

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