LIVING A BALANCED CHRISTIAN LIFE
Prioritize! Give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar and unto God what is Gods.
God made us. He saved us. In his sovereignty, he placed us into this point in history, in this geographic area, with these relationships. He gave us any talent, education, or opportunities we have. And he didn’t do any of that randomly or accidentally, he has a purpose for us.
Knowing this, our first priority should be to seek him daily in purposeful Bible reading and prayer. Additionally, consider choosing times in the car, waiting in a carpool line, before meals where you can practice offering a short prayer or going over a memory verse. (It helps to think of “stapling the day to God” with these little moments). Without his work in our heart, without his renewing of our minds, we are chasing the wind
Serve family and close friends
In his goodness, God has given you a spouse and children and has placed others in different family circumstances. But all of us are called to love sacrificially, the way he loves us.
That means we spend time praying with and for our loved ones. We bear their burdens, which could be as mundane as strapping on a clean diaper, going over spelling words, or picking up dry cleaning. We teach our children the Word of God, which might look like writing out Bible verses to have in the car, downloading songs to play during breakfast, or reading a chapter of a Bible storybook to the kids before bed.
All those things take time, but they don’t usually get a spot on the calendar. As a result, you’ll find that your family often feels the pinch when you overschedule. It’s worth taking occasional stock of your days to ensure you’re giving enough of your energy and attention to the people God’s given to you.
Serve God and others
Daily work is a gift from God, given before the fall to Adam and in keeping with God’s own working nature. From designing a website to washing dishes to answering the phone, our work “further develops, maintains, or repairs the fabric of the world,” as Tim Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf put it in Every Good Endeavor.
This is most satisfying to us when we know we’re doing it, when we can see how our work glorifies God by adding beauty or restoring order or loving other humans. For many of us, that’s less a matter of finding a different occupation and more a matter of seeing opportunities for service in our current work.
Who has God given you to serve? How can you do that more effectively?
Serve the Church
Hebrews tells us not to neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some. Committing to a local body of Christians is not only a commandment of Scripture, but also good for our souls as we gain instruction, sanctification, accountability, and fellowship.
We know the more effort we put into something, the more we’ll get out of it. The more notes we take on a book, the more we’ll remember it. The more questions we ask in class, the more we’ll understand and appreciate the instruction. The more time we spend with a friend, the closer our relationship.
The same is true for the church. The more time and energy we spend stewarding our gifts to serve God’s people by bringing a meal, stopping by for a visit, offering a ride, sending a card, writing a check, the more we’ll be invested in the bride he loves. Certainly, the amount we can do depends on our seasons and circumstances. But it’s worth asking, what does my church need? What can I give?
Care for your health
Our physical bodies belong to God twice over, given at birth and redeemed at the cross. Caring for ourselves, then, is an act of worship and of submission. We acknowledge that we aren’t the boss of ourselves. As hard as we push, we just don’t operate as well when we aren’t getting enough healthy food, regular exercise, or seven-to-nine hours of sleep a night. Thanks to God for both his special revelation and his general revelation that tell us this truth.
The challenge, of course, is that we’re busy doing good things: serving God and neighbor, helping in our church, and working hard at our job. This can make going to the gym or preparing a meal more nutritious than Fruit Loops seem like a waste of time, or worse, selfish. But that logic is twisted. Our family and friends and neighbors need us to be healthy and energetic and well-rested. Running ourselves down in the cause of serving others undercuts our ability to serve well.
The more we submit ourselves to God in this, the more we’ll see the gift he’s giving us in a well-rested mind or strong legs or a cheerful spirit.
The marks of a well-balanced, healthy, God-honoring life like the marks of a healthy church are a guide.
Not only are we limited by human frailty and sin, but also by the way God designed us and the circumstances he’s appointed.
God knows our limits; he gave them to us on purpose. One of his clearest directives is to practice a sabbath, weekly, intentional pausing in our work, leaving some undone to remind us that we aren’t able to do it all.
And to remind us, over and over again, to worship the One who can.