A friend of mine once wisely stated, “balance” is the most important word not found in the Bible. Of course, the concept of balance is taught in the Scriptures. In fact, many of the Bible’s great truths stand in tension with one another. For example, divine sovereignty and human free will are both taught. We have the responsibility to do good to all men, especially those of the household of faith. This seems to imply that I have responsibilities to my Christian brothers and sisters, but I also have responsibilities to those who do not know Christ. Galatians 6:10 does not say that the “balance” is equal responsibility – in this case “balance” leans to one of side of the equation.
Guilt Shouldn’t Define Your Balance
Don’t Let Guilt Define Your Balance. Put Jesus at the wheel, and He will define it for you.
I have the responsibility to work; I have the responsibility to study, to pray, to be a husband, to be a parent, and to be a radical follower of Jesus. So how much time do I give to each task?
When I was younger this question was close to paralyzing. It was almost as if guilt came regardless of what I did. If I worked too long, I was a lousy husband and father. If I took off early, I was a lousy worker. If I did a long Bible study, then I neglected caring for the house. If I cared for the house, I missed a long Bible study. I was in a cycle that resulted in almost continual guilt.
Then I was taught one simple principle that set me free. Here it is:
Do, Right Now, What Would Be Most Pleasing to Jesus
That’s it. Nothing flashy, nothing fancy. Just do what is most pleasing to Jesus right now.
Here is how that plays out:
- Sometimes my work wins. I need to travel, I need to study, I need to read, I need to prepare a message, I need to get ready for a funeral. The bottom line is that sometimes my work has to win.
- Sometimes my wife wins. We go to lunch, we take an anniversary trip, we have an evening date all for ourselves. In other words, sometimes my wife has to win.
- Sometimes my kids win. We ride bikes, play a game, go on vacation, discuss life and love and have conversation about biblical truth. Quite frankly everything else can wait when it comes to moments of quality time with the kids.
- Jesus wins all the time. You see, Jesus is pleased when I am a father at the time I need to be a father; when I am a husband when I need to be a husband; and when I am a worker when I need to work.
Admittedly, there are times when I am not sure what needs to get my attention. But here are a few of the clues that I have found helpful.
- In a moment of prayer or reflection, when I believe that one of the areas of my life is failing to properly steward the Lord’s blessings, then it is time for that area of my life to get more of my attention.
- When someone in my life reminds me that I am putting too much focus on one thing, then it is time to re-evaluate what I am doing. Sometimes that reminder comes from a spouse or one of the children (“Dad, when do we get to spend some time with you?”), or sometimes from a friend who sees me being out of balance.
- When the wrong area of my life becomes the place I find my greatest joy. I should find joy in my marriage, in my children, in my work, and in all that I do. But above all things, I should be finding my greatest joy in the Lord Jesus. If I miss that, then it is time for a refocus.
Like many of you, I am on the journey of pleasing Jesus in all that I do. I often miss the mark. I often need to ask for forgiveness. I often need to refocus and change. You’re not alone, so let’s work on it together.
That said, we should not be surprised that this is the answer to the question of how to find balance. After all, 1 Cor 10:31, 2 Cor 5:9, and the story line of Scripture makes it clear: We were designed to bring glory and honor to God.