Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5: 6-11
Looking back over mine and Madison’s posts this week I kept hearing one word whispered to me – balance. Not just balance in our own lives but balance in the universal sense. Balance as in how God works throughout our lives. I tend to cringe a little when people throw around the phrase, “Not of This World,” because taken out of the context of truly understanding our relationship with God it may sound dismissive of our everyday problems. God didn’t just put us here to wait for the bus to pick us up for the hereafter. He wants us to live out our lives in His name as we go about this thing called “life on planet earth.” And He wants us to do it knowing He is waiting for us. It’s His amazing love for us that calls us to live a balanced life, in His name. Balanced with conviction and grace, humbleness and exaltation, watchful and trusting, broken and healed, and persecuted and restored.
The verses today in 1 Peter show this amazing balance. We are to be humble so God may exalt us. We are to be watchful and yet trusting that God will care for us. We will suffer and God will restore us. And we are to do all this right here during our time in this place. Each day we are admonished by God to find this balance of living our everyday lives – parenting, cooking, cleaning, working, being citizens and neighbors – all the while with Him in mind. We seek the healing hands of doctors yet pray in Jesus’ name for healing and wisdom for the healers. We are to work hard and take care of ourselves and our families while keeping our eyes on Him – not placing idols up in front of Him.
And then there’s conviction. So often the concept of conviction is misunderstood as condemnation. For many we grasp for the joy and the good without the acknowledgement of the things making us out of balance. There’s the “good” and the “not as good.” That leads us to tricking ourselves into thinking there’s “victim-less” actions and sins. There are no “victim-less” sins in God’s world. That’s because He loves each and every one of us. He has a purpose for each of us. So, if we give in to drinking, drugs, sexual immorality, etc it means we aren’t doing the true work He has for us. And by ignoring the very words of Jesus we can ignore that each of us are sinful people.
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.John 15:22
When we walk around with blinders on it’s easy to see the world from a very limited perspective. It may even feel comfortable. But here’s where balance comes in. Without the conviction of sin there is no need for His amazing grace and forgiveness. Satan doesn’t want us to be convicted and receive God’s grace. He wants us to feel condemned and guilty. Conviction calls us to change direction. Conviction is needed for growth. And if we hear what God wants of us and ignore it, we allow satan to work in our lives. We know the sin. We then choose to embrace it or work it out with God. That choice decides our balance.
How many of us leave our communing with God and finding that balance until a more convenient time? We are so tired at the end of the day we struggle to finish a Bible study, to journal, to do a devotional, to even pray. My BSGs were tasked to discuss a time they felt pulled away from God. For me it was during my kids’ sports years. Weekend games and tournaments meant not attending church. And I certainly didn’t bring along any God-focused reading material. And yet, I have to say that’s a time in my life I needed God the most. I was really out of balance.
When we seek that balance God desires for us in all things we find we don’t need to binge eat, be constantly fearful, obsessive, overly emotional. We live in the center, squarely in His love. We keep our work and play on His track. We balance our fears and concerns about this world with the knowledge of what He has in store for us after our brief time here on earth.
I thank God for helping me seek a balanced life. For I know that every time I fail in this world I can look to Him for His grace.