I recently started working out at the gym. One of the exercises that was really difficult at first was doing squats while standing on a Bosu ball, a piece of workout equipment which looks like a big rubber ball that has been cut in half. There are other exercises on the ball, all of which require a good deal of balance not only to push the weights, but also to remain on the ball itself.
As I’ve progressed, I’ve seen my balance improve. I’ve also noticed how that balance improves other activities as well. I feel more stable when running or working with weights, even when I’m not standing on the ball.
It occurred to me how important balance is, not just physical balance while exercising, but balance throughout life. Solomon realized this as well when he wrote, “It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.” (Ecclesiastes 7:18).
Some extremes in the Christian life can be theological. For instance, one person may believe that God is sovereign and in complete control, and therefore no human responsibility is necessary since God will work everything out by Himself. Unfortunately, such a belief on its own may lead to apathy or carelessness. Another person may believe wholly in their own responsibility to serve and obey God, and neglect God’s sovereignty altogether. This belief on its own may lead to excessive worry or legalism. Yet, by grasping both beliefs and avoiding either extreme, a person will be motivated to obey God and be responsible, yet trust in His sovereignty and control.
This concept of balance from extremes can be applied to practical areas of life as well. For example, God wants us to be good stewards of our money… this looks like not being wasteful and spending every penny we earn, but also being generous with the financial resources God has given us, and seeking to use our finances to serve others and bring glory to God instead of being miserly.
There are many other extremes in life that can be avoided, many other situations where the balance between the extremes is the best option to pursue.
As a Christian, it’s always important to examine our hearts and motives, to see if we have areas of our lives that are “in extremes.” Our trust needs to be in God to reveal those areas where change is needed, and then take the steps to change, as He convicts and empowers. What areas of your life can you think of where you have gravitated towards an extreme, where a more balanced outlook would be optimal?