Posts Tagged ‘unprofitable’

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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Hindered and Entangled

May 13th, 2011

I will be out of the office for about two weeks, and will probably be unable to send EveryDay Life until the first week of June. I invite you to browse the archives of previous devotionals – 570 of them now at! – and maintain your daily devotional time in God’s Word. I will miss writing them; I hope you will miss reading them. I appreciate your doing so and the privilege of sharing my thoughts and comments from the practical truth of God’s Word . .


“Let us throw off everything that hinders . . and entangles.” Hebrews 12:1 NIV

“Always know the difference between what needs to be kept and what needs discarded.”

My thoughts today are about “hindered and entangled.”

One of the problems with everyday life is all the stuff you accumulate and keep along the way. The older I get the more I have, but some of it is unused and of minimal value. To air out the garage yesterday (due to the untimely demise of a field rodent among the stuff there), I opened the windows in spite of the day’s warnings of thunderstorms and heavy rain. With the foreboding weather forecast, I took time to move my golf clubs safely away from the open window, just in case. Of course, by my disuse they are allowed to gather dust and rust, yet there I was worrying about their getting wet. Really, like other things where my truck should be, they are allowed to take space that could be used more beneficially. People’s lives can be like that.

Does your life feel that way sometimes? Life is better without stuff that hinders more than helps – remembering every slight suffered, holding old grudges, vividly recalling every mistake, indulging sins that grieve you, reciting every complaint, clinging to unhappiness, being constantly critical, worrying about the unknown, believing your doubts, regretting your wrong without changing, hurting people, making promises you won’t keep, wanting friends but being unfriendly, having friends that make you worse not better, and the list goes on and on! So much unnecessary stuff deserves no place in your life; such things are unprofitable.

The Bible picturesquely describes some things, “as useless as dried grass burning in a fire . . as useless as dried up springs of water or as clouds blown away by the wind – promising much but delivering nothing.” Isaiah 47:14/2 Peter 2:17 NLT. God advises you to, “throw off everything that hinders . . and entangles.” Hebrews 12:1 NIV. What hinders your being your best? What entangles your thoughts and emotions until you are dismayed and stuck where you are?

You know the stuff you have stored in and around your life that hasn’t been useful for a long time, if it ever was. When something or someone continually complicates your spiritual progress, you have to make a change. You have to be forceful and specific, “throw off . . run with perseverance . . fix your eyes on Jesus . . consider Jesus . .!” Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV. Don’t find a place to keep such things out of sight or out of mind; rid yourself of them! Refuse to tolerate what is unprofitable. Anything that doesn’t help the development of spiritual life can hinder it.

Paul gave good advice, “Those who have trusted in God must be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. But avoid foolish controversies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” Titus 3:8-9 NIV. Be sure to always know the difference between what needs to be kept and what needs discarded.

My prayer for you today is that life is enjoyed, not encumbered with needless things.

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