Harmony in the "balance"
Have you ever noticed how so many words in the English language can be used in different ways with varying meaning based on the context in which they are written? Such is the case with a word that has been bouncing around in this noggin and heart of mine. Given my nature it is unlike me to not share this little tidbit of truth (so that you can be convicted along with me) with others, so, here you go.
The word that has beleaguered my mind as of late is “balance”. It is a term that is often used to promote a sense of stability. Such as someone walking a balance beam, a tight rope, or simply standing on one leg (each of which is harder to do than one might originally think). In this context the word is healthy and quite helpful.
There is also another context in which one can use this tricky term, “balance”. It is in the setting of a scale. The Israelites (Jews) were familiar with this because God called them out on their unethical dealings with one another on loaded scales (Hosea 12:7). They would strategically weight the plate on one side of the scale to always come out in their favor which in effect cheated the other party out of due payment.
So this is the issue that has smacked me square in the frontal lobe. I have heard lots of people lately (actually now that I think of it, it has been going on for quite some time and I have done it myself) use the term balance as it would be directed toward the negotiating of ministry, work, time and the overall well-being of life. I believe many (if not most) of those who use this term mean well and are seeking to promote “stability” in their life. However, I also hear twisted in and amongst the statements of quite a few people an unsettling context of scales in the “balance” of their lives.
It is in this sense that the Spirit of God convicted me and continues to ring the alarm bell as others repeat this process. When we use the term balance as it involves the structure of our time and efforts, I get the nagging notion that what we actually mean to say is “selective surrender”. So in effect, just like the Jews, we set the scales and attempt to balance out portions of our life. “This much goes to God and this much goes to me”, is the mantra of our hearts. We are just like those Israelites that we preach about so much. They robbed one another and in so doing they also robbed God.
Now please understand me. God never needed anything from Israel nor does He need you. It is for your good that He desires ALL of you. We have been set on the scale and have been found deficient. We in fact are in desperate need of Him! God should have all of me. I should reserve nothing for myself. This does not mean I do not rest. On the contrary, my rest comes from Him! Remember the story of Jesus at the well with the adulterous woman (John 4:1-45)? Jesus told His disciples that He had food that they knew not of. His food was to do the will of the Father. Burnout happens because we are either leaning on the wrong person (too much of self) or we are doing the wrong things (things that the Father has not authorized us to do). Certainly we all need a little recharge and graciously we see that very thing modeled in the life of Christ. However please take note that His recharge came from spending time with the Father and walking in His will. We should never “take a break” from Jesus.
So, when I (and Israel) set the scales to selectively surrender mere parts of my life I am in sin. Israel sinned because they cheated their brothers and sisters. However the greatest sin is what the lying scales actually said (and still say) about the truth found in the heart. We set the scales because we doubt the goodness and power of our God. We believe that if we do not control the “balance” then we will come out on the short end and somehow not receive what we want or even what we think is fair. We have convinced ourselves that we know better than our Father when it comes to our needs and what true blessing and rest really are.
This is why I have started to use the term “harmony” in relationship to my life and all of its inner workings and expressions. In this way each facet is completely owned by Christ and hidden in Him; each note and voice singing its part so that it might be a pleasing offering to my King. In the end (and in today) there is a great treasure to be found in possessing nothing and belonging wholly to the One who made you for His own glory.
I hope this does not sound like an overreaching examination on semantics. My goal is not to skewer the word “balance” or those who use it. My chief desire is to allow us the opportunity to examine deeply what we mean by what we say and to endeavor to be a blessed people wholly owned by Christ and cherishing Him above ALL things.
Harmoniously in Christ,