The Expository Files

Spiritual Balance

Ecclesiastes 3:1

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" (Eccl. 3: 1). What this points up is the wisdom of proper balance in all things. We see balance in nature. If the rabbit population gets out of hand, the foxes will take care of it. When they kill too many rabbits, the foxes decrease. The earth is perfectly balanced, so much so that we can calculate eclipses and such like years in advance. But we also need "spiritual balance" in all things.

First, there is a need for doctrinal balance. This means giving the proper em­phasis to all truths. The hobbyist is blind to all but his "pet themes," and puts un­due stress on some particular doctrine that he has decided that he alone has the truth concerning. Some are carried away with "new doctrines," when they should be steadfastly contending for the "old paths." Such people fall for everything and stand for nothing.

Next, there should be balance between zeal and knowledge. That ardent fervor may be a misdirected zeal. The inquisi­tion demonstrates the harm done when fanatics get out of spiritual balance. The Pharisees are excellent examples of it. Churches may fall prey to this unbal­anced situation, having the truth, but no zeal.

Third, our preaching needs to be bal­anced with our practice. Sound doctrine should produce sound living or we are out of balance. Sometimes we may be as the Pharisees, and "say and do not" (Matt. 23:3). If we preach "pure religion" then we need to be practicing it. The man we commonly call the "Good Samaritan" is an excellent example of a balanced life. He put the good principles of his life into practice while the priest and Levite (who knew all about the preaching) did nothing.

Finally, there is the need for balance between emotion and logic. There is a place for both of them in the life of the Chris­tian. These may affect entire congrega­tions. One might rely on emotion so much that they get "carried away" with all sorts of unscriptural things, because it makes us "feel good." On the other hand a person or congregation may make a specialty of cold, heartless, ritualistic logic. Peter's sermon on the day of Pen­tecost is an example of proper balance between emotion and logic. His logic was seen in his reasoning from the scriptures. The emotion is demonstrated by his hearers being "cut to the heart." There must be balance in these areas in persuading people to obey the gospel. The heart may not be converted if the teacher is overly emotional, and scaring people into obedience is not the way.

Let us learn to get our spiritual things in balance - whatever they may be. We will then be more effective workers for God, and you will then really know what Christianity is all about! –

By Bill Moseley
From Expository Files 12.6; June 2005