Did you ever do one of those balancing experiments in school where you were required to make a one meter long ruler, stable across a thin knife edge? The task is to find the point at which the weight of the ruler is equally distributed. All the tension and concentration – shutting of windows to stop a stray breeze from interfering, commanding your partner (or partners) to hold their breath and be still, praying that nothing shakes the table your set-up is set upon – is to achieve one simple goal: equilibrium. You find yourself trying to control the “ruler and knife-edge” system, yourself and every external force or influence you can imagine in order to achieve a few moments of equilibrium – a short stint of balance.
It is evident that this paradigm acquired in the classroom (or some other way) – the need or tendency to control everything in order to achieve a sort of balance – is translated into our everyday lives. We want to control money, time, energy, relationships (especially those dearest to us) in order to achieve a knife-edge equilibrium we imagine would give us the most joy, peace and fulfilment. We tend to use culture, tradition, social standing, political influence, education, skills, charm, sex appeal – anything and everything we can – to swing the system of our lives to achieve “balance”. We go as far as conscience will allow and, in some cases (and all of us have done this at one time or the other), push beyond conscience and turn to manipulation to get things done. We manipulate, either as victims or as victors, to achieve our perceived equilibrium on the knife-edge called “Self”.
There is a problem with this approach to life. Things (and most certainly people) are not meant to be controlled by you or me. The meter-long rule was not designed for the knife-edge. So, if we ever manage to achieve the balance for a moment we are not allowed to rest. The next task will be to either maintain or restore the balance because it will inevitably be threatened or disturbed by some factor we missed or can not control. And so we ourselves begin to swing from relief to frustration, from anxiety to peace, from victory to defeat, from hope to despair; back and forth on an unending list of knife-edges that make up the human condition. It is easy to recognize the futility of this way of life yet we stay stuck on the futile path because there seems to be no other option. Or is there?
Have you considered what it would be like if there is no knife-edge? What if we did not have to put so much of ourselves into attaining equilibrium? What if we let some other force determine the state we call stability? The Psalmist was onto something when he wrote these words;
My life constantly hangs in the balance,
But I will not stop obeying your instructions.
-Psalms 119:109 [NLT]
The approach he had taken with his life was counter-culture, maybe even counter-intuitive. He is not suggesting we abandon the meter-long rule to purposelessness and chaos by being passive or ignore the absence of equilibrium. Rather, his approach demands greater deliberateness, a stubborn devotion if you would. By choosing to obey God’s instructions, He is subjecting the rule to an outer force such that it is constantly driven towards a direction rather than being adjusted to maintain a state of being. By doing this, he constantly swings the balance of his life in favor of what that force determines to be best for him. Without any doubt, the ultimate condition of his life will be a picture of the effect of subjecting it to the God-forces at play.
Why would someone do such a thing? We don’t know all the details but we do know that he trusts in the power behind the forces at work and that the ultimate outcome would be good for him. At the very least, he would not spend all his life trying to balance a ruler on a knife-edge and be left wondering at the outcome, and wondering if equilibrium was ever really a worthy goal in the end.
The new year 2020 brings in a new decade and, if you have been paying attention to what has been going on in your world, whether you are a believer in Jesus or not, you would find that there is a promise of more forces coming to play whether we like it or not. That promise means that the definition of what balance means will only become more unstable and confusing as standards and measures evolve or are redefined and more ideas are wittingly or unwittingly thrown into the mix. The potential to be lost in our world has never been greater. Yet, it has never been easier to recognise the standard of the Cross of Christ as it is raised boldly on the highest hilltop.
Now is the time to swing our lives with greater devotion and unrelenting passion toward God. Give yourself to the simple, daily practices and spiritual disciplines of a follower of Christ with greater intensity. Set your heart to obey. It is actually very straightforward and uncomplicated. This is how you swing the balance in the right direction.
And if you are not a follower of Christ, now is the time to switch and swing in a new direction and choose to follow Christ. You’ll be entering a whole new world, experiencing everything human but with full possibility of the divine too. You won’t know the details of it all and will not be able to find balance on your own but you will surely be swinging in the direction of God, knowing that He is good and you are loved.
By © King of Fools
P.S: As part of my blogging goals for the year. I’ve invited my friends on board to bring a freshness to the brand that’s gabriellalove.com. ‘King of Fools’ as he likes to be called is one them. I hope you’ll be here all year long!