We enjoy watching gymnastics and are amazed at the abilities of the gymnasts. All of the events are impressive, demonstrating the gymnasts amazing strength and flexibility and timing, but one in particular shows the athlete’s balance and that, of course, is the balance beam. I’m sure at some point in your life you have tried to see how long you could walk on a railroad rail without falling off. Now raise that rail to 4 feet off the ground and try it! A balance beam is 16 feet long, 3.9 inches wide and 4.1 feet off the ground. It is wider than a rail but gymnasts doesn’t just walk on it; they perform tumbling combinations to demonstrate acrobatic skills and must also stay on the beam the whole time. They have 1.3 minutes to show their skills. That may not seem like a very long time, but I bet it seems like an hour when you are trying to keep balanced and not fall off.
Keeping your balance is a much-needed skill, not just in gymnastics, but in all of life. We need to keep the tires balanced and the wheels in alignment on our vehicles or we have difficulty staying on course. In order to stay healthy, we need a balanced diet (which doesn’t mean a chocolate bar in both hands!). Financially we need a balanced budget where we don’t spend more than we make (or we end up like our government!). Sports teams need to have a balanced attack, not dependent on just one player, but all working together, with each contributing according to his/her special abilities. The same is true for a local assembly of believers. The Apostle Paul compared the church to the physical body, which has many members, all serving an important role and necessary to the proper functioning of the body (I Cor. 12:12-31). Just as it would be ridiculous for the foot to say, “because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” or for the ear to say, ” because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is also ridiculous to say that because you don’t have particular spiritual gifts that you are not really needed in the local assembly. If you are a believer, you have been gifted by God to serve in the body of Christ. Paul wrote: “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit (spiritual gifts) for the common good” (I Cor. 12:7). Rather than envying what others can do, thinking that you don’t have anything to offer, keep in mind Paul’s statement in I Cor. 12:11: “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” God did not leave anyone out and is the One who decides what gifts to give each of us that will best complement the body to make it healthy. To the Ephesian believers, Paul wrote: “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift…being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Eph. 4:7-16). If you decide you aren’t needed, or don’t want to get involved, then the body is “out of balance” and suffers. There needs to be a balance of teaching, administering, showing mercy, service, worship, outreach, missions, etc. for a church to stay in balance and be healthy. The church needs YOU! CH_ _ CH is nothing unless UR in it!
And, speaking of the church, there needs to be a balance in teaching from God’s Word. It is our nature to fall prey to the “perils of the pendulum,” and emphasize one doctrine and neglect others. For example, we may exclusively teach on the sovereignty of God and neglect the teaching of the free will of man and his responsibility and accountability. Or we may put all of emphasis on evangelism and very little on discipleship and missions. Or we may get hung up on prophecy and neglect the development of our everyday walk and witness. When Paul met with the elders from Ephesus, he told them, “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose (KJV = counsel) of God” (Acts 20:27). Paul boldly declared all the truths of God’s Word—creation, election, redemption, justification, adoption, conversion, sanctification, holy living, etc. and strongly condemned those who adulterated the truth of Scripture (II Cor. 2:17; II Tim. 4:3,4). “All Scripture is inspired by God (from Genesis through Revelation) and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (II Tim. 3:16,17). It is crucial that we study and teach and preach all of God’s Word and not be a “Scripture-plucker,” with just a verse here and a verse there to teach what we want God’s Word to say or to just emphasize one portion of the “whole counsel of God.”
Another area where we are prone to get out of balance is in the area of our physical versus spiritual conditioning. Our culture today is quite obsessed with health and fitness. I just heard that people in our country spend and average of $100,000 in a lifetime on fitness centers, exercise equipment, diets, protein drinks, etc. to keep their bodies in top shape. Now, it is good to do what we can to stay healthy and in shape (someone said, “round is a shape!”) for we only have a ministry as long as we have a body, but don’t neglect to exercise spiritually. Imagine how spiritually strong and healthy we would be if we gave as much effort to spiritual conditioning as to physical! Paul wrote: “For bodily discipline (exercise) is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (I Tim. 4: 8). We tend to spend much time on our physical bodies which are temporal and little time on the inner man which is eternal. Paul wrote: “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Cor. 4:16-18). How much time (and money) do you spend on the “outer man” versus the renewal and growth of the “inner man”? Has your life gotten “out of balance”?
“Keeping your balance” is important in every area of life. Gymnastics is not the only venue with a “balance beam.” But, none is more important than your spiritual life. We are here to glorify God in all that we do (Col. 3:17, 23,24) and in order to do that, must “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Mt. 6:33). How are you doing? Have you gotten “out of balance?”