Balancing Act

“Let my tongue sing about your word, for all your commands are right.” Psalm 119:172 NLT

Balancing Act

I have been wearing corrective lenses since I was in kindergarten. I remember the first time I wore them to school I was miserably teased. Throughout my growing up years I would continue to be teased for things such as my weight, glasses, and acne. I basically grew up with a distorted view of myself. God said one thing in his word, but I saw myself in a completely different way, based on the experiences my life had taught me. My focus was blurred.

Once I got to my early teens I recognized the need to lose weight or be condemned to a life as an outcast (in my mind that was my reality). What started off as diet and exercise developed into bulimia and self-mutilation; even attempted suicide. It took years of struggling with insecurity and doubt before I finally began to grasp how God made me truly was wonderful. It’s only been in the last couple of years that I have accepted my physical appearance and weight. I spent many hours in Psalm 139 pouring over passages about being fearfully and wonderfully made, but it never sank into my heart, it was a truth that remained in my head. As long as my focus remained on myself and my imperfections, I remained out of balance.

In much the same way we easily become out of balance when we approach the word of God. We often focus on our favorite passages and stay there. For some it’s Isaiah, some it’s Psalms, some it’s the Gospels. It’s easy to become out of balance when we don’t take in the word as a whole, how it was intended to be taken in. How many times have you seen a random verse be taken and used to support an idea you know to be contrary to the word of God as a whole?

Balance! We need balance!

I have been immersed in Psalm 119 for almost a year now, and surely over a year by the time this project is complete, and throughout this time I have not remained solely in this chapter or even this book. I have kept myself growing and learning through the resources of several other studies in other books of the Bible. God’s word was intended to be read as a whole, taken in as a whole, absorbed as a whole, and we often get confused when we take bits and pieces and build ideas and philosophies off of them. Let’s face it; there wouldn’t be dozens, if not hundreds of different religious denominations if there weren’t people interpreting Scriptures differently, with different focuses.

Psalm 119 is clear about one thing. Our focus should always be the word, not a chapter, or a verse, or even a book. Obviously we cannot read all of scripture at once, and sometimes “reading through the Bible in a year” type plans can be a little dry and aren’t necessarily for everyone (though I recommend doing it at least once), but we can certainly stay balanced in our studies by not focusing solely on one passage over and over in our personal time. Doing so is like allowing our spiritual lenses to become blurry and distorted.

The Psalmist declares “…all your commands are right.”

”All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…” 2 Timothy 3:16

The word is right, the word is just, all the word profits, and the best way to stay balanced as a believer and continue to mature is to keep searching and learning and exploring passages new and fresh. Ask the Spirit to lead us to uncharted territory, books we’ve never read (Hezekiah anyone?!) or doctrines we’ve never studied. If nothing else, we can understand why we believe what we do even better, but as we search deeper into the word of God we will only be scratching the surface. We will discover the clever ways he has tied in his Old Testament prophecies, illustrations and stories with the coming of Jesus; we will see treasures never before uncovered due to apathy of what we didn’t know or fear of what we might not understand. There is enough in the righteous word of God to study for a lifetime! You might spend 30 days in this Psalm 119 devotional, and then move on to a Gospel, or perhaps an obscure Old Testament prophet! Be daring and try something new! You’ll be simply amazed at the intricacies of his word, and compelled to worship even more when you see every infinite detail! Truly you will want to let your tongue sing about the word!

Prayer

Lord, I ask that you keep me balanced as I spend time in your word. Keep me in your truth, guide me in your righteous word, and lead me in the studies you want me to participate in. Show me where I have been unbalanced in my spiritual life, perhaps focusing too much on one thing while neglecting something else. As I continue to walk in your ways today, convict me of any area that needs the corrective lens of your Holy Spirit to redirect my focus.

Let’s Talk FAITH

Let’s Talk FAITH

Faith is choosing to believe the Bible is true regardless of circumstances, emotions, or cultural trends.”- Life Builders (Campus Crusade For Christ)

As I find myself falling deeper in love with my Creator, I become consistently overwhelmed with His incredible hand of design and care over every detail of my life. I find myself in a constant state of marvel and worship, always with a song on my heart bursting from my lips. However, it’s not always peaches and roses. As I draw closer in divine intimacy with my Eternal Lover, I become acutely aware of the desperate failing health of hearts around me. Most notably are those of the ones I love most. While I am experiencing, and living a peace beyond compare, and a purpose that literally puts a spring in my step, my closest family members are often the ones suffering the deepest pains as they stagger through life aimlessly. Desperate and hopeless; if nothing else with the appearance of merely existing, which in and of itsef is its own horror. God is orchestrating the symphony of my life and creating the most joyous music I have ever known, and yet my own loved ones wander in darkness. I find I’m tempted to wonder why they don’t want this glorious life so freely offered to them, the life they know of in their heads, yet refuse in their hearts.

I was finally brought to my spiritual knees as I had to face face my precious Jesus, my Champion who has gone before me and continues to intercede for me daily working on my behalf-I had to admit to Him that while I may have faith to move mountains and trust Him to provide all my needs I had major doubts about the hearts of the ones closest to me, and whether they would ever change. Would they ever want to change? Why don’t they want freedom? Who wouldn’t want it?

Ah, but no surprise to my Friend, for He knows my every thought and concern. Any more prayers for these “loved ones” filled with doubt would simply be a wasted breath. It was an honest release necessary for me to see my own spiritual weakness of faith (or lack thereof). And I implored with my God earnestly.

Why, Jesus, why? Why do I trust You to provide my every need? Why do I trust You with the life of my daughter and even the most impossible of tasks and yet to change a couple of hearts I pray with cynicism and doubt with much wavering. (James 1:6) So I sat back and listened. Literally, with my eyes closed, hands lifted, and repeating:

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.”

Psalm 62:5 (NLT)

It seemed like an eternity as His love enveloped me, He wrapped me in His gentle presence. No guilt trips for my bluntness. It was my honesty that He desired, not as if He needed it, but it was for my benefit. I knew He would speak to me in His time. I waited.

He took me back to a place thousands of years ago. It was a heart wrenching scene to be sure. Jesus could have come sooner to save Lazarus, but chose not to. It was not the will of the Father. It didn’t make sense to everyone else. Lazarus died, and had been dead 4 days. Jesus tells them to roll the stone away from the tomb and initially Martha balks at the idea, noting the horrible stench they would encounter from the corpse. However, something deep withing her remembers. She knows who the ultimate authority is, and her spirit submits to the process that on the surface appears to be illogical. She says,

Even now I know God will give you whatever you ask.”

John 11:22 (NLT)

Does she know the outcome of this story? Of course not! She does know that Jesus can ask anything of His Father, and she truly believes whatever happens is for their greatest good. (And she had never even read Romans 8:28!)

Jesus responds to her simple act of faith with a statement that initially seems to be unrelated:

I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

John 11:25-26 (NLT)

Looking into the eyes of her Savior she is questioned. Do you believe? I am life, do you believe? You will never die, do you believe? Life is more than your physical body, do you believe? I came so you could have life abundantly, do you believe?

She could look Him straight in the eyes and say truthfully, honestly:

Yes, Lord.”
John 11:27

And what happens next is the real meat and potatoes of the story:

The doubters (all of us-or is it just me?) say:

This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”

John 11:37

Or as we like to put it: God, I know You can change this situation and I want to trust You, but I’m really having a hard time. It’s coming across to me as if you enjoy watching me suffer. I’m starting to lose heart here. I’m not sure about that thing called “faith”, especially when these circumstances are less than appealing.

Jesus responds:

‘Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?’

So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, thank You for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so they will believe You sent me.’ Then Jesus shouted, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ And the dead man came out…”

John 11:40-44 (NLT)

And so it happened. The big light bulb clicked on and a little more of God’s truth was illuminated in the depths of my wayward heart that night. Everything, even down to the smallest detail has a purpose. Do I believe that? Yes, I do. And I know what that purpose always is: bringing glory to Jesus Christ and His Father in heaven. Can He change hearts? Of course He can! Do I believe He can use every choice (good or bad) that my loved ones make (or I make!) for their greatest good and for His ultimate glory? You bet I do!

Yes, Jesus, I do believe.

When the enemy tells me my prayers are pointless because “they’ll never change anyways”, I can tell Satan to get lost because with my God, the Only True God, the God of Life, ALL things are possible, and that is the truth my soul rests on!

For we live by believing, and not by seeing.”

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NLT)

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe…”

Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)

Faith is the confidence that what we ask for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

And so you’re loving Comforter asks you to be sincere with Him. Where do you lack faith? It’s there right now, and you can hear Him calling out to you to lay it at His feet. Ask Him to simply help you’re “unbelief”. One of the most beautiful prayers you can utter and He wants to hear it is this:

I believe; help thou my unbelief!”

Mark 9:24 (KJV)

It’s the best place to start! When you can be honest before you’re Maker and allow Him to build you’re faith one small brick at a time, you’ll soon find yourself rejoicing passionately:

Satisfy [me]…with Your unfailing love, so [I] may sing for joy to the end of [my] life.”

Psalm 90:14 (NLT)

Do you believe?