Thursday, March 21, 2013

Living the Imbalanced Life

Between being out-of-town, my truck breaking down, and getting sick, the last 2 1/2 weeks have gotten away from me. Things should return to normal now, however. :-) With that out of the way...

The notion of a "balanced" approach to life has recently caught my attention. If you don't know what a balanced life is, it is one where no single aspect takes over your life completely. It is recommended in the same way that balanced diets are. You eat (in this case, do) a little bit of everything to help make sure nothing in life gets neglected. We go to school or work, we go to church (with a few church functions even thrown in!), we play sports and have fun time and we read our Bibles and say our prayers once or twice a week. Balanced.

But are Christians called to live a balanced life? Biblically, the answer is no.

Let me admit up front that I am very bad about this. As Paul said, "that which I want to do I don't do, and that which I hate is the very thing I do!" (Rom. 7:15). It is a difficult task, but one I will be continuing to work on, even when I fail miserably time and again.

Christians are NOT called to live a balanced life.

In fact, we are called to live very imbalanced lives. God and church and spirituality are not things to be balanced with the rest of our lives, they are to be our lives. Everything else is supposed to be balanced around God, not the other way around.

If, as Christians, we believe that we are to be like Jesus and live like He lived, why do our lives not show it? In everything (everything!) Jesus did, He had a mind for God and what His purpose was. In the gospels we constantly see Jesus going off by Himself to pray, teaching others, helping those in need, being with those who believed in Him, and taking on those who rejected Him.

When the church first began, it wasn't with occasional pot-lucks and an annual VBS. It was with living together, sharing together, eating together, praying together, and being with each other. Every. Single. Day. The church had explosive growth because the church was life for these people.

And they dared not treat it as anything less.

I am not saying quit your job, never play another sport, never have alone time, and never watch TV or play games.

I am saying look at your life and ask yourself:
Does God revolve around my life, or does my life revolve around God?

There is only one correct answer to that question. We are not called to live balanced lives. We are called to live a life completely imbalanced in favor of God, being with Him, and being with His people. It may be difficult, especially at first, and you will probably not like the things you have to give up in order to live this way.

But you will not regret it. Promise.

So live imbalanced. 

Live church. Live the Bible. Live Prayer. Live God.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Feely Faith

It is a rare event in my life where I "feel" my faith. I grew up in an environment that did not look down on people who had the warm fuzzies about their faith, but I also wasn't exactly taught about feeling my faith either. As I got into my teen and college years, I often wondered what had gone wrong with me. So many others seemed to be "in love" with their faith, God, Bible, etc. They seemed to ooze faith and joy over it. In contrast, I often felt somewhat like a robot. I'm not talking about just going through the motions because it was what I was "supposed" to do. I just didn't have much feeling in it most of the time.

Please do not get me wrong. I am not saying this was the Most Horrible Thing Ever. I am also not going to rant against all those who feel their faith deeply. The goal with this post is to help you if you feel "left out" from the feely faith crowd. It is very easy to feel like you are missing out or that your faith is not genuine because it does not take the same form as those who ooze lovey-dovey about it.

The point of faith isn't about a feeling. It also isn't about turning us into robots. Faith is about salvation. If you look in the Bible nowhere does it talk about our feelings being proof of our faith, or even proof of the strength of it. The Bible says to believe the things that were written. They were written in a historical context and documented to be true - more so than any other records we have in recorded history. The Bible is not a document of emotion, it is a document about fact with a call to action based on those facts.

What we cannot do, however, is (a) look down on those who have strong feelings about their faith or (b) feel like we are missing out because we don't feel as strongly as such a person. The one who feels has an important role to play in showing the feelers of this world their emotions and joy that comes from God. Those who do not have as strong an emotional tie to their faith play an important role by being a grounding rod of belief in any situation good or bad.

What I would encourage you to do is to work, bit by bit, on the area you are weaker in. If you are a feeler, go through the factual evidences and proofs of Christianity in a logical and scientific way. In doing so you will strengthen your foundation for the day when you feel weak and down. Your faith will have a place to stand even with negative emotions (or worse, no emotions at all). 

If you are less of a feeler, look for ways to find joy in the things that God has done and in the ways He works in your life. In doing so you will find a more meaningful and exciting life. God did not call us to be lifeless automatons. He called us to live a full life in Him.

So start today. Live a life that is full in the best way possible. In a way that shows faith in God and His promises no matter what, and in a way that helps you to have the joy that God has promised.