Saturday, 5 July 2014

The God of Balance

In secondary school, I was in a Christian students’ fellowship. Part of our responsibilities was evangelizing to others. I remember that many times I tried to scare my classmates into becoming Christians. I would tell them of the horrors of Hell, and would ask them to make a commitment immediately, just in case they died suddenly.

Sometimes they fearfully did,and would join me in fellowships for a while. But after realising death or rapture wasn’t happening soon, they would revert back to their ways.

I too became a confused Christian not long after. All I knew was the judgement of God, and not really His love. So I often compromised my faith and lived like a hypocrite. After a while, I became convinced that God was such a loving and understanding God who was not bothered by my ‘few’ sins. I felt that as long as I went to church regularly and got involved in many activities, God wouldn’t mind my frequent slip-ups. I felt I was better than others who sinned even more or didn’t go to church.

So I moved from viewing God Almighty as a‘fire and brimstone’ God to one who was so loving He would pamper me and turn a blind eye to my sins. I was wrong.

God is a God of Justice and a God of Love. We can’t have one without the other. In the Old Testament, we see Him as a God of Justice, punishing Israel and indeed other nations for their sins. This was often after repeated warnings and calls for repentance were rejected. But theNew Testament shows us the depth of God’s love towards Mankind: His willingnessto sacrifice His dearly Beloved Son Jesus on our behalf.

Only a balanced understanding of these two ideas will make us appreciate God and worship Him as we ought to.  On one hand He is a God who loves us so passionately He took  the penalty of our sins.

On the other hand, He is a Holy God who hates sin (disobedience and our independence of Him). In recent times, I have come to this balanced view about God and now I serve Him in the light of who He truly is and all He has done for me, not what I merely think He is.

For me, certain life experiences made this happen. I became a mother. As a mother, my love for my kids is not proven by giving them everything they want. Instead it is shown in how I look out for their good. Sometimes it involves a bit of discipline especially when they misbehave. But again this is to help them become better. I am sure there are times my kids probably did not think my discipline was loving. But hopefully they will look back years later and thank me for not letting them have their way all the time. As a mother, my love for my kids make me discipline them for their good. The love of God makes Him discipline us (correct or act justly) for our eternal good.

This balance should not only stop in the way we view God but also in the way we approach things. One example is what or who we listen to, especially the clergy. A very common message among many of them today is the prosperity Gospel, which is often in sharp contrast to those who preach on the End Times and Judgement. 

Now while I don’t have anything against being successful, we must be balanced about it. True prosperity must be seen through the eyes of eternity. What benefit is there in gaining the whole world and losing one’s soul? In 3John 1:2 we are reminded, Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”So yes while it’s okay to desire to be successful, we must make sure that in pursuit of this, we do not break God’s commands and offer our souls for sale.

Another area is the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment. Once again balance is needed. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in resting and enjoying oneself. But we have to use filters, in the light of eternity, to help us identify what is beneficial and what is garbage. For many years I was a very carnal Christian, because all I listened to and watched were worldly entertainment with no eternal value. Our eyes and ears are the receptacles to our minds.

If all we expose them to regularly is filth, our minds will become filthy and it’s only a matter of time before we start acting filthy.  If we nourish our minds regularly with good spiritual food, we become stronger spiritually and act as true Christians. And yes I know we live in a society where it is very difficult not to see filthy entertainment, but we have to regularly make the attempt to ‘top-up’ our spiritual account so we don’t run dry.

These are my thoughts for now. Please feel free to add areas in our lives where we can show balance. May God give us wisdom to live truly balanced lives.

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