The summer of my 6th year, I did a bold and daring thing. I talked my mom in to signing me up for gymnastics classes. For the last few years, I had watched those amazing girls on T.V. as they twirled around the uneven bars and tumbled across the large floor mats. I wanted to be that girl. I asked my mom if I could be the next Mary Lou Retton. She said,”Yes”, and signed me up.
It did not take a long time for me to realize this was not my cup of tea. I realized this when I failed to execute a simple “penny drop” on the uneven bars. This is a cute name for a method of torture. I tried and tried, but I just couldn’t do it. The tumbling was not much better and the balance beam proved to be my undoing. I could walk around a little, but could not perform the smallest trick or stunt. So I abandoned my “Mary Lou” dream and was content to watch the girls on the television. I found out much later that the girls who could do such great things practiced about 7 to 8 hours per day. More power to you, Mary Lou!
In my Christian life, I have struggled with balance also. Over the last few years the Lord has taught me some things about myself and even more about who he is. The balance I strive to attain will take a lot of hard work on my part, but it is also something that God has to do through me. God has shown me some guidelines I can follow to become the Christian he wants me to be.
Let me briefly point out that these guidelines follow salvation. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become part of the family of God. I believe God gives to his children guidelines in his Word to follow and obey. The first guideline or “rock”, as we looked at in my last post, “Rock Hunting”, is that of pleasing God rather than pleasing men. We should want to please God in our relationships, homes, churches, and in the world. We should desire to please Him above all.
The second guideline is to “love others”. Let me start by saying that God has given to each of us a great capacity to love. We were made in the image of God. We were fashioned by Him and made in His likeness. Who has greater love than God? The Bible says that “He first loved us”. Love is also one of the fruits of the Spirit. Love is at the heart of God. We have been given the mandate to “Love”.
It is so easy to love the people who love me. This includes my hubby, my family, my parents, friends, etc. I have a wealth of people who love me. I have no problem loving these precious people. The problem begins when I am face to face with someone who does not love me. We all come in contact with those who we don’t like much less love. You know who I am talking about that one individual who after approximately 30 seconds you long to “pinch their head off” hypothetically speaking. It is the person who immediately comes to mind when the word “conflict” is mentioned, because they embody conflict. As a was thinking about this topic, the Lord brought some verses to my mind from Philippians chapter 2.
- If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if an bowels and mercies,
- Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
If there is going to be any love, fellowship or mercy, let it be for Christ’s sake. Christ endured such great suffering so we could have life abundant not only here on earth but also in Heaven someday. He experienced suffering on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. He knew what it was like to be beaten beyond recognition and to have nailed driven in his hands and feet. He knew what it felt like to be rejected by his own people, the people he came to save. He knew the heartache of being rejected by his Heavenly Father who could not look on the sin Christ bore for us. He was willing to take the punishment for our sin. How could we not be willing to put ourselves and our feelings aside and love the unlovely for his sake?
Let our love for others give Him joy. The phrase that has echoed in my heart all day is “the same love”. We need to have the same love for everyone even those who do not like us or go out of their way to irritate us. He wants us to connect with others by showing love to them. Does this mean we condone their sin or wrongdoing? No. There are times when we can only love with Christ loving through us. He knows when we are hurting and will be there for us. We can love others even though we do not like what they are doing. God, the Father, loves us even when we are disobedient to his Word. Loving others is not always easy, but we are more and more like Christ when we love.
The balancing act we try to perform in our Christian life is like trying to balance on the beam in the gym. Though we sometimes may fall, the mat of God’s love softens the blow.