Radical Balance

Life is about balance, health, harmony with Creator and creation. The body is designed. It operates best within specific boundaries. There are buffers that allow us to fudge some of those boundaries for awhile, but that too comes at a cost. Here’s what I mean.

Take diet as an example. I don’t mean “diet,” as in losing weight, but daily consumption of food and drink. Dietary choices determine what energy and nutrition will be available for my body. When my diet is out of balance it will become evident at some point. The most obvious evidence of imbalance in the U.S. is obesity, or, to take it a step further what is being called “diabesity,” which is the combination of excess fat and type 2 diabetes. While the experts churn out study after study concerning this epidemic, the issue is simple. When you eat more than you require, your body has to deal with it. The way the body handles excess calories is to store them for future use, as fat. Most of us consume far too much sugar, high fructose corn syrup and starch. These substances are quickly turned into blood sugar. However, when we aren’t physically active that blood sugar is not turned into burnable calories, but into, you guessed it: fat. The process the body uses to remove blood sugar is to produce insulin. The constant need for insulin eventually causes problems that result in type 2 diabetes.

We need to eat a balanced diet. I know, that sounds like a bulletin from the Surgeon General. However, this is only one example of balance in life. Now, some people are out of balance in the opposite direction. They eat too little. Perhaps this is due to an effort to lose weight, or it could be because of a poor body image. Americans have a distorted idea of what constitutes a beautiful body, whether male or female. There is virtually no woman who will be capable of maintaining a Barbie Doll body, and extremely few men who will be able to attain the musculature of The Rock. These should not be our ideals. Not only are most celebrity bodies unattainable, but they aren’t even real! They’re photoshopped. You can even get an app for your phone to touch up your selfies. What a vain culture we occupy. The response some people have to our culture’s distorted body imagery is a disorder called anorexia, wherein the person deprives themselves of food to become or remain skinny. Unbalanced and unhealthy.

Exercise is good, and all of us should be getting out and exercising in some way each day. When we don’t get enough exercise our hearts and lungs and muscles atrophy from lack of use. You may not be obese, but without muscle tone your body may appear flabby. That’s what you can see. What happens when you climb a flight of stairs? Are you winded? Heart rate up? That shouldn’t be happening. However, it is possible to go to the opposite extreme and exercise too much. You cannot do the same weightlifting exercises every day. The muscles have to have time to heal. In fact, at least 48 hours, preferably 72. Even running every day will take a toll on your joints and muscles. Balance. Run, lift, rest, ride a bike, lift again. You get the idea.

The problem is, we are an obsessive people. In order to get our divided attention the news media and advertisers must showcase extreme examples of everything. And since we look to the media to determine norms, the extremes have become normal. May I encourage you to become radically balanced? Avoid the extremes. Stop looking at celebrities and athletes as role models. Look above.

You were made in God’s image. The ideal is Jesus Christ. He needs to become your role model, your teacher. Jesus commanded, “Be perfect, therefore, as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). This is not static perfection, and it is not something you can do alone. The image of God within each one of us is so damaged that it must be supernaturally restored. That’s why Jesus must be your Savior and Lord before he can be a realistic ideal.

Start with a confession: I’m not what or who I’m supposed to be. Now add a statement of confidence in Christ’s ability and willingness to help you change: Jesus save me, create a clean heart inside of me. Finally, dedicate yourself to follow Jesus one day at a time: Jesus Christ, you are Lord. I give you charge over my life. I will follow you.

Next, go to Bible.com and read Matthew chapters five through seven; that’s where Jesus taught his followers what he expected of them. Now, pray. Talk to Jesus Christ as you’d talk to a friend. Get into a Bible teaching church and PARTICIPATE, don’t just sit and expect them to entertain you.

If you’re already doing these things, but you’ve been convicted that your life is out of balance in some way, pray and write down the areas where you need to get back into balance. I’ll end with a prayer for you.

Father, I pray for anyone who is reading this right now. Send your Spirit to convict them of the areas in their lives that are out of balance and need to change. Lord Jesus, be real to the person reading this at this very moment. Show them what you want to help them achieve. Make this a life changing moment for them. Restore them to health. Give them hope and bring happiness into their life as they willingly obey and follow you. Thank you Jesus. Amen.