May 30, 2005
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
by Jack Northart
We have all heard the term, "looking at the world through rose colored glasses." It is an expression that means to have an attitude of cheerful optimism, of seeing everything in an attractive, pleasant light. Seeing all of the good and none of the bad. People who wear these so-called "glasses" are considered optimists and are criticized for not being realistic or seeing the world as it "really" is.
On the other hand, a true pessimist takes realism beyond reality and puts a dark spin to every aspect of life. Pessimists tend to avoid challenges. By assuming the worst, they avoid getting hurt or disappointed. To the pessimist, being negative is like a warm comforting blanket of protection. In reality, it is simply fear in manifestation.
Life is a balance. Neither complete optimism or complete pessimism is a correct attitude.
The unwritten Bushido code of the Japanese Samurai expresses a life of balance in a very distinct way. The life of the Samurai was not only one of discipline and military education, but a rich cultivation of the body and mind through the arts of writing, painting, calligraphy, philosophy, etc. The code stated that the true warrior must hold loyalty, courage, veracity, compassion, and honor as highly important. An appreciation and respect of life was also imperative, as it added balance to the warrior character of the Samurai. He was often very stoic with a deep and strong philosophical passion. He could be deadly in combat and yet so gentle and compassionate with children and the weak. Before going into battle, the Samurai would often spend time painting or playing with children. This would act as a counterbalance to the fierceness that he would have to have during the impending fight.
God's Word is very distinct in describing a life of balance.
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
The Greek word for "circumspectly" in this verse is akribos. E.W. Bullinger defines this word in his Critical Greek Lexicon as: "in a becoming manner; in a manner of equal value with the thing referred to," hence, a life of balance. A life that is full of joy, but at the same time is able to see a problem so as to correct it. A life that is always looking for the best outcome, but able to take on difficult situations without stress and strain.
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Many Christians express the desire to put on the new man, the mind of Christ, but skip the part about putting off the old man. To put something off is a deliberate act in and of itself. For example, if I am wearing clothes during the day, but want to put on my pajamas for bed at night, I don't put the pajamas on over my clothes. I must put off my clothes before I put on my pajamas. The same is true in a mental capacity. In order to walk a balanced life, we must put off the old man, and then put on the new man. How do we do this?
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The "old man" or the old manner of life is dead. We don't have to fight the old man nature; just reckon it dead. The three verses leading up to this verse in Romans spell out the perspective we should have.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
In walking a life of balance, it is important to see the old man nature as being dead and seeing our new life nature as ones who have been raised from the dead. We are dead to sin, but we are alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let's look at another example of balance in God's Word.
II Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
This verse describes how we got the Word of God and what it is profitable for, "doctrine, for reproof, for correction." All three of these things are "instruction in righteousness." It is a balance of all three that gives us instruction on how to live rightly. If only one of the three were singled out as the sole way to live, then life would be out of balance. We certainly enjoy the doctrine of God's Word because it is so enlightening, but reproof and correction can also be very enlightening.
People can get very far out of balance by focusing on only one aspect of God's Word and neglecting so many other clear aspects of it. Entire religions and denominations have been formed because of this practice. They go off the deep end with one verse or section of scripture, and ignore the balance of scriptures that would keep their lives more in check with "instruction in righteousness."
Christians need to endeavor to live a balanced life in all aspects. As we do this, our lives will be blessed and a blessing to those we come in contact with. It doesn't mean that we will never make mistakes, but it will be much easier to deal with them as we live this balanced walk.
I Peter 4:8
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Return to main page