I’m always looking for a balance. That great and wonderful balance of the Christian life! Hah! I’m not sure anymore that it really exists – at least not for me. Following Jesus with all my heart has not always made me the kind of balanced Christian I see that many would like for me to be... If God wanted me to be balanced he would have made me a scale and not this emotional ball of passion and desire! How do you balance passion and ambition? How do you balance burden and soul? How do you balance the holy high call of God on your life? How, tell me, do you balance love? How do you balance such a burning passion for the lost and such a fiery love for the church of Jesus? It is possible - but it may not be the type of comfortable, culturally acceptable balance that we are looking for.
The model Christian nowadays is well-dressed, respectable, and has a wonderful loving family. They are well respected within the community as a religious man or woman. They are involved in social activities, and go the all their sons soccer games and their daughters ballet recitals. All of these things are fine and good and noble… (sounds a little like Ned Flanders). But I have rarely seen the model Christian raise the dead. I have rarely seen the model Christian lay their hands on a deaf and dumb mute and cast out the spirit causing the infirmity. (Sometimes they believe such things don't even exist, living in their bubble of Christian Model balance - even though these things are clearly laid out in scripture). Now, to be clear, I would never, ever, ever underestimate the power of a smile, a hug, a kind word, a kind deed. Those can be powerfully and eternally impacting on a life. But let's not neglect either the chief desire and function of Jesus - 'healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, and casting out demons' (Matthew @ Matthew 10)
In fact, many ‘model Christians’ don’t really do a lot, well, at least of the stuff that Jesus did. There's a difference between doing 'stuff' and doing 'Jesus' stuff'. Sure, you may go to church every Sunday and Bible study on Wednesday night, but tell me, is there a manifestation of the Kingdom of God in that? Are people being reached? Perhaps one of the these acts of power (such as a healing of a sick body or the freedom or a demonic-tormented mind) is worth more than 1000 mediocre Bible study attendances for the sake of the duty of religious piety?
As my friend Bill Johnson says, “Any revelation you receive from the word of God that doesn’t lead you into an encounter with him only serves to make you more religious.” (religious in the sense of 'valuing of tradition’ more than what God is saying in the moment)
I’m telling you, now is the time for a little imbalance in our all-so balanced lives.
I don't mean to sound judgmental, but I do want to stir you up! - I'm just not all that sure that the life that Jesus calls us to live is a life of the religious type of balance and comfort that Ned lives. I search the Word and council of God and I see him more calling me to live a life of power... invading impossible situations with the limitless resources of the kingdom of God - isn't that the gospel (Good News) Jesus came to bring. Isn't that the model we are to follow?
More on this to come soon!