Monday, March 3, 2008

Extremism

A pendulum swings from right to left, back and forth until gravity slows down the swing to a stop in the middle. Society in general has a tendency towards this pendulum behavior as well. Conservative politics swings to liberal policies and then back again. Wonder if this swing will ever slow down and settle in the middle?

I don't want to talk about politics today though; I want to look at patterns of thinking that are unhealthy. Within Christian circles, I see people who swing from legalistic and perfectionistic frenetic activity to a hopeless, giving up on the situation inactivity. We are either trying to prove that we are saints or we have just concluded that we are sinners so why try.



The truth of grace leads us away from extremism to a healthy balance. My daughter enjoys playing on the seesaws at the school playground. Unfortunately I cannot play on these with her since my weight does not match hers. If one side of the teeter totter has more weight, the other side cannot be raised. As much as she likes the up and down teetering and tottering, she prefers to stand in the middle of the seesaw and attempt to balance her body weight for as long as possible.

So, I feel like my toothless cutie bug as I try to balance between activity and passivity in my walk with the Lord. Am I supposed to be doing x,y and z in order to grow in sanctification or am I supposed to just sit back on my laurels and wait for God to work? I tip from one side to the other back and forth trying to figure out the balance. If I put too much emphasis on my works, the seesaw crashes down. If I sit back and wait for God to swoop in and rescue me from myself, I feel the ground wobbling beneath me.




Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle
and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is
easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Do you see the balance? Rest AND yoke. Light AND burden. How do we labor and yet rest? How do we pull a plow which is easy and light? It is only possible when we COME to Him.

God is calling me to a partnership. Jesus is yoked together with me. If I labor with all my energy, pulling at the yoke, I will only chafe and hurt myself. But if I sit still waiting for Him to do all the work, I will be drug along the dirt, also hurting myself. The balance is found in taking one step at time with Him by my side. All the "ideas" I read in well meaning Christian books can become legalism for me if I follow men's ideas instead of partnering with Christ. Likewise, a spiritual life that is filled with knowing but not doing cheapens the grace of God.


I swing back and forth trying to slow down into the center of God's will.


Grace makes me righteous before God and grace makes me able to walk in righeousness today.

When I lose sight of Jesus by my side, I run ahead or fall behind because I am relying on myself and not listening for His voice. Faith is putting one foot in front of the other as I wait upon His guidance and direction. He will turn to the left or the right as I make the steps forward. I want to walk side by side with Jesus today.

5 comments:

Denise said...

Great post.

Tiffany Stuart said...

This is a great word picture. Activity and inactivity so my battle. And the verse, well that's one God uses often in my life.

Thanks for speaking to my heart.

Hope you are doing well.

Hugs!

Susan said...

Heather, this was awesome! Thanks for always leaving so many neat things for me to glean from~

Kathy S. said...

Heather, Yes, yes, yes!! I am constantly weighing this...trying to find the balance. God woke me one morning and Noah came to mind. As he was building the ark he was working out his salvation with fear and trembling, AND God was working in him to will and act according to His purpose. A profound mystery to our finite minds that is sudposed to be our reality...by faith:)all of our OT heroes had to find this same balance-wow!

I am giving you the promised land, now in obedience- go conquor it...the key is as you said, keeping in step with the Spirit. Just where God wants us. What grace to keep us by His side.

Your writing is very inspirational!

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed these thoughts. I am constantly wrestling with this very thing...Balance. We've just begun a new Women of Faith Bible Study titled, "Living a Life of Balance". It is excellent so far and really addresses much of what you covered here. I plan to share some of these thoughts Wednesday night with the group. Thank you!
Crystal Potter