We have all heard the saying practice makes perfect. We tell our children if they want to excel at sports then they must put the time in to practice this sport. We tell them to spend time reading so that they will become excellent readers. We know this to be true and we are good at reminding those around us of this concept, yet how often are we practicing what needs to be practiced in our own lives.
Tiger Woods didn’t get to be the best golfer of all time by luck. He achieved great success by practicing. He put in a lot of hours and he worked for it. It was not handed to him, he worked hard for it. We understand this concept. We know that we must practice the piano if we want to play with little error. We know that we must be disciplined in our workouts if we want to run a marathon. We understand these concepts. However, in our walk with the Lord we cling to grace and claim that we have been freed from the law.
This is true.
We would be knocking on the gates of hell without grace. I am not saying anything different. What I am saying is we are willing to practice in other areas of our life to reach a desired goal, and we fail to practice our relationship with Jesus. Whatever happened to the idea of the disciplined Christian life? Notice that I didn’t say balanced Christian life.
Discipline and balance are two very different things. Dictionary.com defines discipline as “a behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control”. The disciplined Christian life is one that applies the guidelines of Scripture and pursues the Lord with the training of an athlete. This results in behavior that looks a lot like Jesus. This discipline results in a life of order. This is a completely different concept than having a life of balance.
The very word discipline has a negative connotation. It just makes us all frown when we hear it. It is not a word that brings immediate feelings of comfort. On the contrary the word will more than likely bring up bad memories from gym class when you were forced to run crushers or perform cherry pickers.
Discipline and human flesh do not naturally go together.
To put is simply we don’t like it. However, Christian discipline will be what holds your life together when everything has fallen apart. When your world is falling in around you and you have no idea what you are going to do next. You will not have to think about prayer because it will be as natural as breathing. It will be second nature to you because you have practiced the discipline of prayer.
Dictionary.com defines balance as “a state of equilibrium; equal distribution of weight, amount etc.” We maintain our balance on our feet by making sure that we equally distribute our weight. Balance is a great thing when considering the movement of our bodies and the act of walking or running. However, it is not such a great idea when applied to the Christian life. We do not want an equal distribution of our time and weight. We want all our weight placed in one area and in the hands of the One who can hold it all together.
Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”. In Jesus Christ all things hold together. We cannot hold all things together including our own lives. We think that we can and we cannot. He is the only one capable of doing this great feat.
It is His purpose, not ours.
We cannot continue to work at holding everything together. You see as long as we are attempting to do His job He will let us. He will let us so that we will fail. He will do it on purpose. He will allow us to completely make a mess of everything so that we will finally learn that this is His job.
The pursuit of balance really is the need for control. We want to be the ones running the show. We want to be in control of our own lives and we work very hard to make sure that we have everything exactly how it needs to be. Only this will never work. God is the only one who can control everything that we have on our plate. We need to learn the art of surrender.
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