After last week’s column on balance, I read some of the comments and email I received about the concept. While it was positive (for the most part) it was also noted that as Christians we really do have a responsibility to call out areas of imbalance more than we are currently doing. Although I did touch on that, this time around I want to be a bit more specific about certain areas where we can always strive to maintain balance.
As I said in the last article, I’ve always felt the best Biblical example of balance is the relationship between the nine gifts of the Spirit (I Cor. 12:8-12) and the nine fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23) The attribute of faith is found in both lists.
So, faith is both a gift and a fruit. Remember that gifts are freely given (and not always given to everyone) while fruit has to be nurtured to maturity. The balance is that while some have great faith given to them to accomplish great tasks, most of us have to work at it. Therein is the balance. Once you recognize that difference, you’ll begin to understand what the Lord has for you.
Looking again at gifts of the Spirit, there is another point of balance in that particular list that is often overlooked. What I mean here is the relationship between wisdom and knowledge.
Wisdom is the proper use of knowledge. For most of us, that would just be basic common sense.
Unfortunately, common sense is becoming rare. I don’t need to cite examples. If you’re a regular visitor to this web site and/or watch any cable news shows, you know exactly what I mean.
I’d like to take a short side bar detour here and mention something about lists found in the Bible. Some scholars and theologians believe that when you see a list, it’s an ordinal progression. In other words, the first thing listed is the most important, the second thing a little less, and so on and so on. The other school of thought is no, order doesn’t matter at all. Because the list is in the Bible and the Bible is God’s Word, everything on the list is equal.
Personally, and this is just me (your mileage may vary), I subscribe to the ordinal progression school of thought. With wisdom, knowledge and faith being the first three gifts, after salvation, I can’t think of much else I’d need or want. Just for fun, get a good concordance and run the scriptures on wisdom. Well worth your time to do so.
Let’s go back and look at faith one more time, as found in the book of James. “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him (2:14) Even so faith, if it hath no works, is dead being alone.” (2:17)
This is the balance between faith and works, between lip service and work. This is not promoting the idea that you can work your way into heaven. You can’t. There’s a proper balance point between expressing your faith by talking about it along with doing all the culturally Christian things we do, and actually putting that faith to the test by work.
This is perhaps the most crucial balancing act that Christians in 21st Century America are facing. We’re being challenged by the left leaning media, by Islam, and by the liberals who hate America and everything it stands for on a daily basis. They just don’t want to silence us–they want us gone. We might have to truthfully face a time when being a warrior will mean more than “prayer warrior”. Don’t think that’s un-Godly. While I pray I’m wrong, we do have the right to protect ourselves and our families.
Another area of balance is something I’ve already addressed in another article. In my January 23rd, 2016 offering entitled “Here’s The Big Difference Between Judge Not and Watch Out in Our Society”, I focused on two portions of scripture from Matthew’s Gospel. Mt. 7:1,2 says “Judge not that ye be not judged. (v.1) For with that judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged…”(v.2). The other portion is found in verses 15 and 16 of the same chapter. “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruit…”
Here’s the balance in this scripture. Mt. 7:1,2 deals with a believer’s relationship with other believers. Mt. 7:15,16 deals with how the believer is to respond to the world and its institutions. Unfortunately, that sometimes includes our own churches. Scripture gives us the wisdom and awareness to find that balance.
Speaking of wisdom-and balance-in closing, here’s one final point. Also in Matthew 10:16 we find this: “Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye, therefore, wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
Wisdom and harmless(ness)? Notice the balance and which one is mentioned first.