Something that I am focusing on more in my life than ever before is BALANCE. I am now 25 years old and have come to the realization of the importance of balance by being just about the most unbalanced person ever. I realize that this is somewhat of an exaggeration considering there are many people in the world that are completely out of whack and yet when I look back at my early 20's I see a very unhappy, unbalanced Christian.
I am adding the word Christian in there because I believe the phrase, "There is nothing more pathetic than an unhappy Christian" applied to me for sure. The truth is in a world without structure, self discipline, motivation and hope the depths of sadness or artificial joy that you can immerse yourself in as a young adult is almost unlimited.
And yet, in spite of this fact or should I say because of this fact-
Jesus died for us- the message translation says while we were of no use to him whatsoever Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
The truth is we live in a selfish self centered society. You don't have to look far to see that this is indeed the truth and it is because of this simple fact that we live in an unbalanced world.
We are exposed to the temptation to give into unhealthy excess each and every day in our American society. While it is true that we live in one of the most blessed nations of the world the fact that our nation is deep in debt is a pretty good representation of our affinity towards excess. We live in an age of innovation and technology and while this can be a great global connector it can also hinder us from developing true deep, meaningful and long lasting relationships.
I work in social media/marketing so I'm not complaining in the slightest about technology. I am only saying that we as Christians should be at least slightly concerned. Why? You may ask. Well let's think about this for a minute.....
Easter Sunday just passed - and what is Easter all about? It is about the reconciliation of relationship. Our relationship to God and our relationship to each other. This is the message of the Gospel!
At base level the message of the cross is all about the restoration of a relationship with Him and with others. And why is that? Because God created us with a deep need for connection with others and not just superficial connection but deep committed relationships. What deeper connection could we have with someone than a blood covenant? Through Christ we have a blood covenant that He will never leave us or forsake us! You see God came to restore our relationships because He knows that we need each other. He knows that true JOY only comes when we embrace this reconciliation with Christ and with others.
Practically speaking, what can we do to restore what has been lost in our self driven society and in our own lives? The answer is going to be different for each person because it all comes down to BALANCE. Each one of us is lacking balance in our own lives in one way or another and this fact is causing unnecessary stress in our lives which in turn puts a strain on our relationships.
So what is the answer to this problem? Of course the answer is always JESUS. As believers we consider Him to be the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE so that means He holds the key to all of life's many questions. It's easy to say, "he or she needs Jesus" instead of recognizing and confronting our own desperate need for Him in our every day lives and seeking out the answers for our own personal lives from HIM.
God desires that we live RESTFUL lives, that we enter into a sort of "vacation" mode of living. A life that doesn't ignore the problems or live oblivious to them but stays in "REST" mode trusting that because you have sought God concerning your problems and given them to HIM you don't have to carry the weight of them anymore and you can go on enjoying life!
Just recently I was listening to a message by Guy Peh, a traveling minister that has preached at our church, and he was talking about how Jesus lived out the prophetic expression of growing in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. Jesus Christ set an example and standard of how we are supposed to live not only in the miracles he performed but in the way he lived his life as a young adult with a JOB as a carpenter. There is a statistic that Guy shared that says that 1/3 of Americans hate their jobs. I would say that sounds accurate considering the fact that at the recent 2:9 event that I attended when asked the highs and lows of each persons day - they all stated work as the low point.
While at the end of the day work is work and no matter what job or career we have there are going to be things we don't enjoy about our job. However, I would dare say that if we don't come to a certain level of joy and peace at our jobs which is where most of us spend a big chunk of our time how then our we going to be true witnesses and reconcilers for Christ? Like I said before learning how to enjoy your life all comes down to one thing and that is BALANCE.
Life is all about finding that supernatural harmony between work, worship, and relationship. The question is what does that look like practically for you? This is an important question to ask yourself now as a young adult because it will set the tone for the rest of your life. Jesus lived a supernaturally balanced life and gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we could experience life more abundantly!
At the beginning of this year we had a 2:9 event where we made VISION BOARDS. I have always been a dreamer and a creative so naturally I LOVED this event. The truth that I have learned though is that it can be much easier to make a vision board than to actually make the vision happen. To do so requires patience, motivation, personal discipline and in essence, BALANCE.
Let's settle in our hearts to make this a year of BALANCE by embracing a heavenly rhythm in our lives and letting the Holy Spirit lead. If you are like me I was really determined to do certain things this year that I haven't been completely consistent doing so far. I am learning not to try and do things all in my own strength but lean into his grace (or empowerment) to help me to do all the things I need to do to achieve BALANCE.
You can have whatever you want this year but that will only come by putting first things first and allowing the Holy Spirit to help you do so. My favorite scripture since I was a little girl is,
"Seek he first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
Little did I know how hard this scripture was going to be and how important for my own personal future.
Another scripture that has been burning in my heart for the past few years is this:
"One thing have I desired of the Lord and that will I seek, to dwell in the house of the Lord forever and to gaze upon his beauty." (Psalm 27:4)
It has taken a few years to really settle this scripture in my heart and life and to come into agreement with it fully. Even still I am sure I will be meditating on the value and importance of this scripture for the rest of my life.
That being said, while God wants us to be like Mary and sit at his feet daily there is WORK to be done in the kingdom of God, and to accomplish anything in life - especially for Christ we must fight for it! According to Exodus 17 there are three expressions of warfare: physical, spiritual, and natural and each is just as important as the other. If there is one thing I remember from going to Rhema Bible School and listening to Pastor Hagin it is this phrase that he would repeat to us, "The natural and the supernatural working together make an explosive force for God!" So we must never discount the natural and get so "spiritual" that we judge others for focusing on what needs to be done. The truth is this: the Gospel is spread around the world every day by ordinary hardworking people so we must never take anyone for granted. Every persons part in the body of Christ is important.
It is true that while the earth remains work will never cease and hard labor will continue but God has a promise of REST and a new way of doing things! If God is at rest then we should be too! Let him do the heavy lifting and you just take your place in Christ and in the Body! In order to enter into this divine rest that he has offered we must meditate on the word so that Christ can cleanse our soul from anything that weighs us down emotionally. Hebrews 4:12 in the amplified says;
"For the word of God is living and active and full of power (making it operative, energizing, and effective.) It is sharper than any two edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit (the completeness of a person) and of both joints and marrow (the deepest parts of our nature) , exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart."
God knows the deepest parts of you more than anyone else and he desires to make you WHOLE, spirit, soul, and body. In the Hebrew language the greeting Shalom means WHOLENESS or peace be with you. If we were really to ask ourselves what the world needs more than anything wouldn't it be peace? In a world of chaos and terror peace is invaluable. In fact the same preacher that I have been listening to preaching on balance (Guy Pey) is the same preacher who recently travelled with his wife to Belgium right after the terror attacks. This is the kind of peace we all crave - a peace that transcends understanding and leads us into the dark places to bring HOPE and LIGHT.
This is the kind of PEACE Jesus offers us. To quote Pastor David from this past Sunday night he said; "God is interested in your Spirit, Soul, and Body. He is interested in all three." Why is God interested in all three? He didn't just send his Son into the world to give His life in order to acquire recruits into this whole Christianity thing. He sent his Son because HE so LOVED the world. He created you with a Spirit Soul and body so He must care about each unique part. The truth is He died for all three!
It is only when we experience freedom in each of those parts of our being that we can truly make choices that please HIM. The will to do something comes from your soul which in turn leads to right choices and this is why the renewing of the mind with the word is so important! The GOOD NEWS is that not only do you get a ticket to heaven by believing in Christ, the GOOD NEWS is that LIFE CAN BE DIFFERENT!
God isn't concerned so much with what we are doing but who we are becoming in the process. TRUE success is being a good steward of what you have been given and learning to rest and enjoy the process of transformation. This is the essence of the Christian life.
LETS MAKE this year 2016 a year that is all about HIM by entering into His DIVINE REST, BALANCE, and restoration in our SOULS so that we can become reconcilers of others to Christ!