My teen daughter was sitting on the edge of my bed recently and asked me how we find that balance, how we walk in the Spirit and avoid the traps of either lawlessness or legalism.
We had been talking about this together, about how we get discouraged in our Christian life when we stop looking to Jesus and start looking everywhere else.
If our Christian life is all about what we are doing (or not doing), or what others are doing (or not doing), instead of what Christ Himself is doing in our lives, we will get off balance.
It got me got me thinking a bit more about this…and some keys to a balanced Christian life…such as:
Make Sure You are Genuinely Born Again
The right foundation for living the Christian life is to be a Christian in the first place.
Being a Christian isn’t about a code of behavior on the outside, but rather about putting your complete trust in the Lord alone for salvation and for the strength and grace to live the Christian life.
Read the Bible in Context
Most false doctrine and crazy ideas, including legalism, comes from not reading the Bible in context.
If you are only picking and choosing at sound-bytes here and there, you are not likely getting the big picture.Recently, my teen daughter and I have been taking a class through Faith Bible Institute, which covers the whole Bible in 3 years. I am 1 year away from completing it. Though I do read my Bible regularly and have since I got saved, I’ve found this class to be very useful for the historical context it is giving me for what I am reading, especially in the area of the Old Testament prophets, and the Old Testament law.
If we don’t read the Bible in the context of the other passages around it, and the historical context in which it is written, it can be confusing and lead to misunderstandings.
Be a Berean
In other words, don’t just take what anyone teaching the Bible says to be true. Look it up yourself, in context. You might need to do some research and study things out, but it is worth it to settle issues for yourself instead of being “tossed to and fro”
Be a part of a good local church
A balanced church that doesn’t preach a bunch of fluff nor preach only their favorite three soapboxes is essential to staying balanced and raising a family. A good church is a support system and helps to challenge us. Christianity isn’t a solo act.
Ephesians 4 says that one of the benefits of a good church, and good church leadership, is to help us from being “tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:11).
A balanced church helps us to keep from going off the deep end on the little stuff.
Don’t Major on Minor Issues
Keep the main thing the main thing.
Over the years, I’ve met fellow believers who have their favorite issue or favorite doctrine. I know a woman who is all about not cutting her hair…and she looks at everything around her, ever Bible passage, and flat out everything in her life around this topic of being a shorn or unshorn woman. Another’s pet doctrine is Birth Control. I’ve known families who make not celebrating Christmas into their point of contention with everyone around them.
There are any one of a zillion things we might find to make into our own “big deal”…but Christ has His own “big deal”, the Great Commission…for us to go into all the world, to make disciples…to tell others of a God that loves them so much that He gave His only Son to die for them…
…and He did so whether or not they have uncut hair, use contraception, and celebrate Christmas. If a Christian falls into being a one trick pony, we should at least make that trick the one that Jesus cared about the most…to seek and to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10).If we have a soapbx, make it what Jesus cared abt the most - 2 seek + save the lost Click To Tweet
Christianity isn’t a religion. It is a relationship with the God of Heaven. Talk to Him!
Worship and Praise
This isn’t just about popping in a CD or what happens before the preaching on Sunday morning.
I am talking about seeing God for who He is, praising Him for what He has done, remembering His wonderful works, thinking about and thanking Him for what He has done for us…
When it comes to worship and praise, singing may be involved, but to me, praise and worship time goes beyond music, and that’s saying a lot coming from me because I love music, and singing loudly (and badly) while worshiping God while washing dishes.
One idea is to keep a “Blessing Journal”. When I am feeling down and having a pity party (we all have them, right?)…I have a book, a list of things God has done in my life recently, and not so recently.
- When God answers a prayer, I write it down, with the date.
- When God does the miraculous, I write it down.
- When God blesses us unexpectedly, I write it down.
As I see the hand of God at work in our family, things that can be explained in no other way, I write it in our blessing journal…and when I am whining at God with my “what have you done for me lately?” pity party tone, I stop, and I get out my blessing journal, and I count my blessings, and remember what He has done.
It’s sad that our human nature helps us remember bad longer than we remember good, and that we even need to write these things down for those times of discouragement when we have blessings-amnesia…but that book is a testimony of God in our lives every day. Our notebook is nearly full after 10 years…and I wasn’t even faithful to write it all in!
Don’t isolate yourself
God made us for fellowship…with Him and with other people. We isolate ourselves for many different reasons:
- We withdraw when we are feeling discouraged
- We choose to not fellowship with anyone that we don’t agree 100% with…leaving us quite alone 😉
- We argue with everyone around us such that they withdraw from us
- We complain that we don’t know anyone at the church at all, without trying to get to know others.