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Just Don't Get Weird and Spooky on Us, Hear?

By Bob Slosser Columnist I'm a little uneasy writing about "walking with the master in balance," which needs widespread discussion both in and out of the churches. A great many people have run into stultifying confusion that keeps them from closeness with the Lord and from full integration into church renewal. They shake their heads and walk away, mumbling, "Those people are weird." Young people and men particularly respond in that manner.

My fear in mentioning "balance" is that someone will think I'm suggesting we should "compromise" or turn "lukewarm" in our Christian lives.

Let me hastily say that I am in no way suggesting "compromise" or "lukewarm." Don't forget these famous words of the Lord to the church at Laodicea:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:15-17, NIV).

One dictionary definition of balance is "to bring into harmony or proportion." That comes close to what I'm driving at. I also like to think of "steadfastness" in connection with balance. "Steadfastness" and "perseverance."

In the first edition of The Secret Kingdom, Pat Robertson and I talked about some of this in connection with the Law of Unity. We felt that if someone was to experience the power of God that can change the world, he must be unified within himself. Many are not. He must know what he thinks and believes and stick with it, unless the Lord or his Word shows him to be wrong. We felt a believer must have internal harmony if he was going to successfully walk the way God desired.

In the Bible, James addresses this specifically: "he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does" (James 1:6b-8). One mind believing or desiring one thing and, in the same person, another mind believing something else will not work. And there can be no doubting if you're to avoid being storm-tossed.

Instead, the Bible says, we must be like Abraham. At the age of 100 and soness, he was told he would be the father of many nations. He didn't waver regarding the promise, but remained fully assured that God would perform what He has said (Genesis 12ff). You see, Abraham, through some trials did not fall victim to spiritual schizophrenia, which wracks so many in their walks with the Lord.

People can be torn between the pursuit of worldly goals and the pursuit of the Christian life. They can't make up their minds which to put first, needing desperately to hear the words of David: "My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast" (Psalm 57:7).

One of the Martha and Mary accounts tells us of a time when Jesus visited them when Martha "was distracted by all the preparations," while her sister Mary "sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said" (Luke 10:38ff). We must not interpret the passage as approval of laziness or irresponsibility. Jesus loved Martha and her willingness to serve, but he was concerned about her attitude, her internal unity. Mary had "chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Her quest had been unified. If need be, she would sacrifice all else for it.

But Martha wanted to be recognized as a follower of Jesus and as a good organizer and as a good cook. She wasn't single-minded and she had no peace. She was "worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed," Jesus said. We cannot serve two masters. We cannot put our spouses and Jesus first at the same time. We cannot put our jobs ahead of everything and serve Jesus as Lord at the same time.

Our problem is that we make a gap between the two, seeing them as two masters, and we try to put each one first. That leads to schizophrenia and breakdowns. The solution, of course, is to be single-minded. Put Jesus first, and then He will say: "Love your wife as I loved the church," a spouse can get no greater love than that.

Similarly, put Jesus first and he will say: "When you undertake a task, do it with all your might." A job can get no more attention than that.

Look at it this way: To the serious Christian there should not be "two things" - that is, life in the kingdom and life in the world. Really there is "one thing": Life in the kingdom will take care of life in the world. That's why we can be single-minded.

Hear me on this: Do not push this into fanaticism - beyond the realm of reality. We must not lose sight of the fact that there is a physical, material existence. When Jesus was on earth he was a real man, as well as God. Gnosticism, which denies the material reality of life, is heretical. When Jesus said, "Seek His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well," He was talking about all the things we would need in our daily lives in the world. God is very practical. He created every thing, including material life. He is not weird and spooky.

Finally, to achieve real balance in walking with the Master, we must fully appropriate three major gifts to us: the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the church, wherein hopefully lies reason. These are real gifts, without which we cannot achieve successful Christian living. We often ignore one or the other, and yet they were given to keep us walking aright.

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