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We are not called to a balanced life

We’re too safe in America – too tepid.  You can believe anything; just don’t believe it too strongly.  According to Barna, we prioritize our children’s academics and sports above true spirituality.  And then, we’re distraught at the society we’ve created and place hope in our polit…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
We’re too safe in America – too tepid.  You can believe anything; just don’t believe it too strongly.  According to Barna, we prioritize our children’s academics and sports above true spirituality.  And then, we’re distraught at the society we’ve created and place hope in our politicians to fix it.
We need to recover our passion. God, our creator, loves us and died for us – it’s a deeply personal fact and should disabuse us of our talk of a “balanced life.”
Passionate people aren’t balanced.
We’ve prioritized balance over passion.  A few passionate people (about 19) brought revolution to Cuba after 60 of their number were wiped out in a battle.  A few passionate people have always brought revolution.  It was passion that kept a handful of Jesus’ disciples waiting for the Holy Spirit to come after he died, and it is an echo of that passion that incited a revolution of the heart that lives on in us today. 
I’ve long believed that we need more passion than we need balance.  Today I read that in A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God.  Here are some things it says:

The Bible nowhere calls for us to have a balanced life.  The heroes of the faith were obedient to God’s call but not balanced. 

When we’re juggling competing priorities, our ultimate goal is not to be perfectly balanced.  The goal is to fulfill God’s calling without falling over.

We each have a unique calling and role to play.  Playing our role well sometimes demands being out of balance somewhere else.

Life goes through seasons and each season has its own special responsibilities and assignments. Ask:
1. What season is this? 

2. What does God want me to do today? 
3. Is anything so out of balance that it’s harming my health, relationships, or walk with God?

Appropriate balance can’t be defined by a schedule or a checklist.  It’s defined by that sweet spot where we’re pursuing whatever helps us play out our role better, avoiding whatever sidetracks us or causes us to fail, and ignoring most of the rest.

Comments (18)

  • wow i feel soooo much better. i seem to walk unbalanced on the balance beam of life.hey, it is ok….o how i like the sentence …………[sweet spot
    where were pursuing whatever helps us play out our role better.] i can live with this with a smile in my heart.

  • This makes me feel o.k….but I feel I need that handful of people and God isn’t moving in that direction quickly.

    Andrew’s msg became very real to me on Friday. God revealed it to me in John 20, and now I keep reading Acts over and over.

    The thing is I need to see other people doing this…I could come along side other people living out believing in the Christ that is in them…but I am timid here.

    Acts 3:16 says that “it’s Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him.”

    That is what will do it. It is not even our faith…yet it is. and I know that voice…but alone I find it hard.

    I was in a “Holy Spirit” church by myself a couple Sundays ago…and the worship was great, and I sensed and touched God in a way that I have not before in a corporate worship setting.
    There was a little old lady an isle over and she looked uncomfortably bent over…she didn’t have the strength in her neck to hold her head up…God told me to go over to her…to hug her…to put my hands on her…but I couldn’t. I reasoned (my first error) that I was in a Spirit filled church for the first time…and if she had a need it should well be taken care of by now. I reasoned that people knew it was my first time and that they would be offended if I thought I saw a need that they hadn’t, and I also reasoned that she might be offended at me. All these things in hindsight are STUPID…I know that. Why, right now for me is God not strength enough? Why do I need people to play off of? If a stronger person were beside me and I told them what I was hearing and feeling and they said “do it” I could have done it…but I couldn’t by myself.

    I see in Acts where Peter had John, and Paul had a number of people at different times. I feel like God sends us out with others. God has given me such revelation…and I know who He is and I know what He is calling me to…but quite frankly I am scared…and I hate that. I feel like He may get tired of my puniness…I feel like Moses asking for Aaron. I used to scoff at Moses…why after speaking with God in a burning bush do you need people…now I get it.

  • Thank you! I cringe inside when I hear the “balance” talk. I not only NOT hear the call upward, but a message to take control of your own life, lean on your own understanding and lose your fire. The key word you used is “obedience.” Jesus’ words: for those who love and obey Him, He will SHOW Himself to them. Like Christi, I have missed too many moments of obedience and seeing Jesus show me His heart that stirs up more passion for Him. Pray for me. And I will pray for us all, especially in the U.S. culture.

  • This is just wanted I needed to read today…. I want to report it on my facebook blog if you are okay with that. It really hit me how my life is very unbalanced now but with the things that are taking the most time and engergy now being the things that need to take the most time and enegery. I need a 180 degree flip of what my life looks like right now! Thanks Seth.

  • I hear what you’re saying Seth, but how do I spend my time, energy, and resources on the poor and others in need while not neglecting my husband and children? Isn’t there need for balance? Or is it that I’m supposed to be passionate about caring for ALL people (family, friends, and strangers) and I just have to figure out how to not neglect each that God has placed in my life? But isn’t that “balance”? Sigh…

    And yes, this is something I’m definitely struggling with.


  • Elysa,

    you’ve got your finger on an important issue. Let me suggest it’s a question of priorities. Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing. We have to tune in to the Father’s priorities and constantly recalibrate by listening to him.

    I like Covey’s stuff on priorities and time management. At the end of the day, you say “yes” to someone else and you may be saying “no” to your family.

    And nobody has it worse than a mom with a lot of kids and a heart for the nations! I suggest lots of outreach with your kids as a possible way of giving priority to both your family and to the poor. From what i know of you, you’re a wonderful example of this and you need to be encouraged that you’re probably in the top 1% of all moms. I believe God is exceedingly proud of you.

  • Okay, Christi. You got me crying, too! I’m such a wimp.

    I’m getting off now and going to take a nap.

  • I’ve said this for a long time; Paul the Apostle was NOT balanced…’….to live is Christ, to die is gain’. Look at the prophets.

    Here’s the thing, GOD is to be our all encompasing passion; HE is the ultimate REASON we take care of the other areas of our life well. We are instructed by HIM to take care or & love our wifes, to work (‘whatsoever you do, do heartely as unto the Lord’).

    HE must not only be FIRST, but the ONLY in our lives or we will be unbalanced in HIS eyes…..because of our passion and devotion to HIM, he will direct us to take care of our responsibilities in HIS wisdom. Remember, that being a work-a-holic for HIM, may or may not be HIS plan, but just might be yours. He has instructed in HIS WORD how you must handle responsibilities to be a testimony for HIM.


    Evangelism: http://www.repentanceforgrace.com
    Podcast: http://repentanceforgrace.podomatic.com

  • David Jacob Nyamita

    I would like to know more about you please.I am a Pastor working and serving God in Musoma, Tanzania, East Africa. I am interested
    knowing much about your ministry and if possible how we can work together expanding God’s kingdom here in Tanzania.

    Thank you so much and looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Phone number: +255 787 213 988

  • Nelson – those verses don’t talk about balanced living.

    Ps 62:9 “Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;”

    Prov 16:11 “Honest scales and balances belong to the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his.”

  • This is where sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is really important. I’m all for reckless abandon in following God’s calling on my life. But, when we were a part of a church start my wife and I spent so much time working on church stuff that I totally neglected my business and we totally neglected our kids and our marriage. We were both agonizing over the fact that we had a passion to see this church succeed but doing everything we were doing was killing our marriage, our relationship with the kids and even our intimacy with God. After losing 33% of my company’s client list and, quite frankly, being indifferent to whether my marriage was doing well or not (after all, I was doing all this for God.)God woke me up one day.

    He said, you can fail at being a pastor, you can fail at business, you can fail at growing a local church…but my primary calling for you is to be a follower and lover of Christ, the husband that your wife needs and the father your children need…everything else comes after that.

    Don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to put my calling on anyone else, this is just what God told me about my walk with Him.

    Excellent discussion folks!

  • The Bible uses the word “balance” multiple times Psalms 62:9; Prov 16:11. At least 11 times through out. A balanced life is a good life.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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