Do you ever feel like everything is accomplished just as you’re running out of time? Does life feel like diffusing a time bomb? This week, we’re going to look at a value that is universally admired, and universally ignored – balance.
God established the universe with the principle of balance or equilibrium. For instance, the earth is balanced on an axis. Another example is architecture. Architecture is built on the principle of balancing stress load. If there is no stress it will collapse. If there is too much stress it will collapse.
If your life is not balanced it will collapse.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” Colossians 3:23 NIV
The Bible presents a balance between work and rest. Good, hard, focused work is godly and biblical. It’s completely reasonable for your employer to ask for 40 solid hours from you. It’s right for them to ask for those hours to be focused, not doing personal projects or shopping or social media.
“It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night… God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest.” Psalm 127:2 TLB
The Bible also talks about rest. God cares about your work, but he’s also concerned that you get the right amount of rest. The human body is built on the principle of balance. Your body is made up of many systems and functions properly when these systems are in balance with each other.
When any one of these systems gets out of balance, we call that dis-ease or disease. When the systems are all in balance we call that health. Healing is the recovery of balance to the body. God’s interested in you living a balanced life.
B — Build my life around Christ
The only person who ever lived a perfectly God-honoring life was Jesus. Therefore, He defines what balance is. Think of your life like a wheel.
Many people put “God” or “going to church” as just another spoke on their wheel. But, that means something or someone else will be at the hub, because there is always going to be something at the center of your life.
How do you know what your life is centered around? Simple — What do you think about the most? Every time we make a decision, we think about what that decision will affect. Do you think about how the decision will affect your relationship with Christ?
Whatever you think about the most is what you center your life around.
The center of your life is very important. If you have a solid center, you’re going to have a solid life. But if you’ve got a weak, flimsy center you’re going to crack up at the edges. Only God is strong enough to hold you together, nothing else has the strength to hold all the pieces of life together.
Not only does the hub create stability, the hub controls everything else. So whatever you put at the core of your life, is going to control and influence everything else. The center of the wheel is the hub, the hub is connected to the axle and the axle is connected to the source of power.
The power always emanates from the hub outward, not inward. If you have anything except God at the center of your life, at the hub, at the core, you’ve got a power shortage.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 NLT
If you put Jesus Christ at the center, He can direct, He can influence, He can empower, He can give stability to every spoke of your life whether it’s education, career, family, etc.
A — Accept my humanity
That means we stop trying to pretend that we have all the answers, that we can solve everybody’s problem, that we can meet every need and that we can fulfill everyone’s expectation. We must recognize that we have limitations.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” Isaiah 40:28 NIV
We think, “It’s all going to crash if I don’t keep it going.” But we forget, we are not the general manager of the universe. And even God can’t even please everybody. One person wants it to rain, another wants it to be sunny. Only a fool would try to do what even God can’t do.
Not all the pressure in your life is coming from other people; we often put the pressure on ourselves. We think we need to add more extra curricular activities, remodel the bathroom, get another degree, start a side hustle, throw a huge birthday party… but this is uneccessary pressure we put on ourselves to try and measure up.
“You made my body, Lord; now give me sense to heed your laws.” Psalm 119:73 TLB
L — Limit my Labor
Just like a bow and arrow, a bow that is constantly strung tight, loses it’s power. It has to be unstrung periodically. We can’t live under constant tension. This is not just pop psychology or good advice, it’s so important that God put it in the Ten Commandments.
“You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me.” Exodus 20:9-10 GNT
Up there on the list with, “Don’t make any idols.” He also says, “Take a day off every seven days.” God wired you up to be in a rhythm of work and rest.
Our best requires rest.
This principle is called the Sabbath. Sabbath simply means “A day of rest.” God expects you to observe a sabbath every seven days.
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.'” Mark 2:27 NLT
They were creating extra rules for the Sabbath to the point where the Sabbath wasn’t a relief, it became just another burden. The book of Colossians in the New Testament says God doesn’t care which day your Sabbath is. We get concerned about all the rules but He wants us to catch the principle of balance, not get so wrapped up in the law.
If the goal of Sabbath is rest, then there are three types of fatigue we need to tend to.
- Physical fatigue: when your muscles and your body get tired.
- Emotional fatigue: when your emotions get tired.
- Spiritual fatigue: when your heart dries up and you just don’t feel close to God and you feel like when you pray, nobody’s listening.
So what three things do we do on a sabbath?
1. Rest my body
If you don’t take time off, your body will take time off for you. Your back will go out, you’ll get a headache, you’ll get the flu… We are not designed to go without rest.
2. Recharge your emotions
This takes different things for different people. You can recharge yourself emotionally through quietness, through recreation, through relationships.
3. Refocus your spirit
The Bible word for that is worship. Worship is when I focus on God instead of all my problems. One of the things worship does is put everything else in perspective. It shrinks your problems. Too often when people are tired and overworked they look for peace & quiet when they really need the Peace of Christ.
A — Adjust my values
The real reason our lives get out of balance is because our values get out of balance; we start majoring on the minors. The Bible says that one of the reasons we overwork is materialism, but you can’t keep up with the Jones’ and live a balanced life at the same time.
“I have also learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy the things their neighbors have.” Ecclesiastes 4:4 GNT
“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Mark 8:36 NIV
One of the reasons why Americans have a hard time relaxing is because we often confuse our work and our worth. We think that what I do is the same thing as who I am and my net worth determines my self worth. That’s all a lie. It’s just not true.
Your identity has nothing to do with your career or how fulfilling the job is. It has to do with who God made you to be. We think if I achieve a lot then I’m worth a lot. But, we need to remember, the greatest things in life aren’t things.
“It is better to have only a little with peace of mind than to be busy all the time.” Ecclesiastes 4:6
N — Nourish my inner life
God puts an inner fire within each of us that gives us a passion and zeal and a reason to get up in the morning. If you don’t tend it, if you don’t nourish that fire, you will find that it goes out eventually. Then, you are then trying to live your life and meet other people’s needs from very cold embers rather than a blazing fire.
Our society encourages us to live externally, to live from the outside in, to make sure that everything looks really good on the outside and hope somehow we can cover up what’s going on, on the inside. But what does it matter if you’ve got an immaculate yard, every weed picked, every blade of grass is where it should be, and your house is decorated flawlessly your car is washed and your desk is clean if on the inside there is death, bitterness, rage, frustration and unforgiveness?
God tells us we are to live our lives from the inside out not from the outside in. That has to do with tending that inner fire. What is it you have stopped paying attention to or stopped doing because you are just too busy?
Charles Swindoll says in his book, “Growing Strong Through the Seasons of Life” that one time he went to a beautiful home and there was an amazing stone fireplace with a large wood mantel. He walked up close to see what words were on the mantel. It said, “If your heart is cold, my fires cannot warm you.”
A three car garage cannot warm a cold heart. A promotion at work cannot warm a cold heart. A two week vacation cannot warm a cold heart. A successful business cannot warm a cold heart. What will warm a cold heart is contact again with the living God.
“I will delight in your decrees. I will not neglect your word.” Psalm 119:16
If you’re finding the fire in your life has gone out, get back in contact with the living God and let Him begin to warm up your heart again.
C — Commit my schedule to God.
Each day, we have to commit our schedules to God, knowing for an absolute fact, that life is not going to cooperate with our schedule. Have you noticed that life doesn’t really care about what is on your to-do list?
“My times are in Your hands.” Psalm 31:15
When we live by that verse, our stress level goes down. We can make a list, but also commit it to God, knowing that He alone knows what we are supposed to be doing on any given day.
In Matthew 9 is the story of Jesus on His way to heal a dying child. On His way, a woman who has had a chronic illness for over 20 years stops Him and He stops and heals her. That it tells me Jesus understood this principle. He understood that the Father knew where He was supposed to be and He was willing to be bendable and flexible to let God show Him where He was supposed to spend His time.
E — Enjoy each moment
“All of us should… enjoy what we have worked for. It’s God’s gift.” Ecclesiastes 3:13 GNT
Balanced people learn how to be happy while they’re working on goals. It’s okay to have goals, God even says to work on goals. But you need to understand that the goal of life is not accomplishments.
The goal of life — the reason you were put here on this earth — are two things: to get to know God personally through His son Jesus Christ, and to become more like God is in character using the gifts He gave you to serve other people.
We can’t do that if we’re not thankful for the moments he gives us. You can get everything else right. Your schedule. Time management. Money management. Days off. Vacation time. But it still won’t meet your biggest need.
Your biggest need is salvation.
You need to get plugged back in to God’s power. Physical fatigue can be cured by rest. But it takes more than physical rest to rejuvenate emotional and spiritual fatigue. If your spirit’s dried up, a two week vacation isn’t going to do anything for it. You do that by putting Christ back at the center, at the hub of your life.
“Jesus: ‘Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest… the load I give to you to carry is light.'” Matthew 11:28,30
He tells us He will give us rest, not give us a whole lot more to do. Some of us may be afraid to really sell out to God completely because we are afraid God’s going to load more on us than we’ve already got. The myth is, if I live God’s way He’ll give me more to do. The fact is He will exchange our pressure for His peace and His power.
He wants you to be balanced. He’ll give you a life and values that are going to matter for eternity. If you are carrying a heavy load, it’s not from God. God will never put more on you than He puts in you to bear it up.
Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions about the message on Self-Control? How did it go writing out your own prayer from Psalm 13, 43, 51 or 140?
Hear the Word
Are you managing your schedule or is your schedule managing you? Have you ever considered how your schedule and the way you use your time could impact your values?
We all desire a balanced life, and for good reason: It’s part of God’s plan for us. Every nook and cranny of the universe is built on this principle. The earth is balanced. Your body, when it’s healthy, is balanced. Our life and our schedules are healthy when they are balanced.
“It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night… God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest.” Psalm 127:2 TLB
Build my life around Christ. Accept my humanity. Limit my labor. Adjust my values. Nourish my inner life. Commit my schedule to God. Enjoy each moment.
- What does your life revolve around right now? Work? Family? School? Is Jesus Christ one of the spokes, or is he the hub of your life? You’ll never be at peace and never be balanced if Christ is not at the center. When Christ is at the center he gives you stability, control and power. What spoke of your life is currently competing to be the hub of your life?
- If you’re wondering what that looks like, here are a few ideas. Have a day that you rest your body, where you recharge your emotions and where you refocus your spirit by focusing on God. With that framework, what would a day of rest look like for you? What would be a successful sabbath for you? What activities? What people?
- What are you neglecting in your life right now that normally fuels your passion? What have you stopped paying attention to or stopped doing to nourish your inner life because you’re too busy?
- How often do you enjoy time and experiences with God and your family and your friends? If you want more of that kind of time in your life, get it on your schedule.
Tell Someone Else
Who can you share this message with? Maybe you could give them a break and use it as an opportunity to share this message with them. You could send them a link to the message at rockbrook.org or share the podcast with them. You might consider giving them a Building Your Life On Values That Last study guide.
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