A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight. – Proverbs 11:1
My venture to Toledo to attend the Heartland Bible Conference at Hope Baptist proves to be convicting, encouraging, and exciting. I have sat through five sermons already and crave to sit through more (don’t worry, I get to tonight). As we rest in the hotel room, I caved in and paid for the WiFi so I could share my thoughts with you. However, it is hard to even narrow them down in order to share with you what’s on my heart. Let me focus on what Brother Mark Rodgers said today (who is definitely becoming one of my favorite preachers!).
Imbalance causes heresy *. Yup, that is what I said. Now, I am not talking about that person that is imbalanced and may need medication or treatment to cure their issue. The one who argues with themselves at the grocery store about what he or she should buy for dinner or the cab driver who literally cannot speak a sentence without the word “hotdog” in it (I used to work in retail; true stories!). I am talking about the imbalance of one’s spiritual life.
Two rather important things that are needed in a spiritual walk is knowledge and action. As the song says, “You can’t have one without the other.” (Okay, I know the song was about love and marriage. Let’s just say knowledge and action are married).
Who do you think is more dangerous: the ginormous man who walks into the church with an earring in his nose, a hoop on his ear, twenty tattoos on his arms, and hair to his knees (that arrived on a Harley); or the clean-cut, straight-laced congregational member with a KJV Bible under his arm and a notebook full of in-depth study notes who has never served in a ministry or done anything outside of studying for knowledge? Well, I will vote for the latter of the two. Knowledge without action is a destructive thing! Satan does not care how much you know; it is how much you act upon that ruffles his feathers.
Satan also doesn’t mind when you start acting without any knowledge because he can take you out easier. You will be easier to knock down and humiliate. You will be easier to deceive. You will be easier to distract.
Along with needing a healthy balance of knowledge and action, you need a balance conviction and compassion. If you have conviction on your life (as ALL good Christians do), that means God is trying to draw your attention to things and make you move (hey, linked with knowledge and action . . .). If you have that conviction but do not develop compassion, that creates the heresy of legalism^. In addition, if you have compassion and no conviction (as MANY churches have these days), you start to compromise your standards, expectations, and fruits for the Lord.
So, now that you have knowledge put into action and conviction stirred with compassion, one must add propriety+ and passion to the mix. Propriety is not a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t lack passion and sincerity. If you have mostly or all propriety and little to no passion, it becomes ritualistic and routine. The heart grows numb, and the Spirit does not take up residence there.
Too much passion, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect. It creates foolishness and disorderly behavior. Some churches pack out their seats but do not deliver the truth. The problem is they do not offer the gospel or anything of substance. What Brother Rodgers referred to as a “party church” holds too much passion and not enough propriety.They are there to exalt one another (in the flesh) and socialize.
Things that should be righteous and passionate, mixed with truth, include singing during the song service, preaching, witnessing, and fellowshipping with other Christians. If these things do not glorify God, they are not balanced and displease God.
The concluding ingredients are duty and desire. Many people within our churches do things out of duty. In reality, it is our duty because Jesus shed His blood for us and freed us from hell. However, if the desire to do service is lacking, the imbalance grows large. Duty alone causes people to give up and quit. Desire will come and go (based on emotions). Together, however, the two qualities as a Christian can be unstoppable.
When a Christian loses their desire, duty kicks in harder. As he or she begins to do the task, God regenerates the soul. The desire returns and mighty things are done in God’s name.
Think of it this way:
Food is a necessary part of life. You must have it to survive and receive nourishment. If one obsesses with it and eats too much, it can become gluttony. Gluttony is a sin listed specifically in the Bible.
For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. – Proverbs 23:21
Anything taken in excess and in an unbalanced way creates a negative outcome. What we need to strive for is balance in our spiritual walks, so that we can serve the Lord better!
What about you? How is your spiritual balance?
*heresy: an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards
^legalism: adding to the method of salvation beyond grace and/or on how to keep salvation
+propriety: Conformity to prevailing customs and usages.