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Moderation and Balance

December 31st, 2012

As you grow spiritually, you should increasingly reflect the loveliness of Jesus.

“Don’t . . lose your balance.” 2 Peter 3:17 CEV.

Moderation can be a virtue if the concept is rightly understood. “Let your moderation be known to all men.” Philippians 4:5 KJV. Often, people are more readily given to extremes rather than moderation. And then, the usual adjustments are from one measure of an extreme to another.

When Jesus knelt to wash the disciples’ feet, Peter protested and refused Jesus’ doing so. Read John 13:5-10 NKJV. Then when Jesus corrected him, Peter swung to the other extreme, “Not just my feet but my hands and head as well.” Vs. 9 NIV. Jesus’ response was an example of practical moderation, “Jesus answered, ‘A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.’” Vs. 10 NIV. It is a simple lesson for life; too much of even a good thing can be unprofitable.

When overweight, a person typically makes a radical change to their menu, rather than a healthy adjustment to their lifestyle. A dieter goes to an extreme that is often unhealthy and therefore ineffective long term. Overnight, some people shift from a sedentary lifestyle to an exercise regimen that is unsustainable. Balance is necessary in every area of life, making essential adjustments progressively until a healthy, Godly equilibrium is established.

Peter, the former extremist, advocates the proper place for balance in the Christian’s lifestyle: “Don’t let . .  people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance.  Let the wonderful kindness and the understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help you to keep on growing. Praise Jesus now and forever!” 2 Peter 3:17-18 CEV. The same concept is expressed in a different translation; “Be on guard lest you lose your footing and get swept off your feet.” 2 Peter 3:17 The Message. Don’t allow people or circumstances to make you lose your balance.

I aspire for balance in my spiritual and everyday life – balancing marriage and ministry priorities, balancing personal reflection and meaningful conversation, or balancing spiritual disciplines and social engagement. That is not always as simple as you might first suppose. It is easy to assume that balance involves equal parts of different things. That is neither realistic nor a proper understanding. Balance cannot remain static; balance – like your spiritual life and personal relationships – must be dynamic, always adjusting, always current. The concept of spiritual balance is best illustrated by a recipe consisting of: the correct proportions of the right ingredients, blended together at the right time for the intended result.

I have long enjoyed a poem by Rudyard Kipling that expresses the balance a life is meant to enjoy. “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute, With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run – Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!” (If, 1895). Keep your balance in all the experiences of life – the gain, the loss; the pleasure, the pain; the good, the bad.

As in everything, Jesus is your model for a truly balanced life. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52 NIV. Jesus’ natural maturing encompassed His development mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. As you grow spiritually, you should increasingly reflect the loveliness of Jesus. Paul writes of the ultimate goal of your coming to, ”the knowledge of the Son of God, to a [maturing] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that Jesus is always your example and highest goal.

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