Getting The Right Balance
Getting the right balance between our relationship with God and His service is tricky business.
Confusing our service and work for the Lord as being in the center of God’s will is a common mistake we all make .
Why is that?
I believe it’s because we want to show Him how much we love him, we want to give back to him for what He has done for us, we want to share it with others, we want to prove our love to him by our good works. We start to believe that our works for him is the most important way to physically show our love to Him.
My desire in the beginning of my walk with the Lord was to tell others about Him, what He did for me and what He could do for others. I was so full of His spirit that I wanted to make sure the whole world knew about it.
Was that a bad thing?
Absolutely not, I was on fire for God and I can still see him smiling down at me, this new born babe, full of love and joy, wanting to share it with anyone who would come his way.
Like a toddler who sees someone he loves and puts his arms out to be lifted up and hugged. That is what I was like, I wanted to share my new found love with anyone who came into my space and at the same time look to the Lord for love and encouragement.
My love for God and my desire to share it with others was on equal ground in the beginning but like so many others as I started to grow and mature and the growing pains started to kick in.
My service for the Lord and sharing his love started to outweigh my personal relationship with God, thinking I always had to DO something to remind Him of how much I loved Him.
As time went on and I had more responsibility, my own family to care for, God’s work to tend to my personal relationship with the Lord looked more like a man who was struggling in deep water trying to find his way back to shore before he drowns.
More emphasis was put on service than relationship and over time the proper balance between my relationship with the Lord and my service for Him went from fifty-fifty too maybe ninety ten in favour of works. In proverbs it says that “a false balance is an abomination to God, but a just weight is his delight.” Proverbs 11:1 (KJV)
I was on a free fall, heavily laden with my service and nothing could stop me until I hit rock bottom.
But rock bottom is good. I found that it is very difficult to start your climb back up when you are still falling. So when we finally get to hit bottom with our feet firmly on the ground then we can start our trek back to where we are supposed to be.
To find that proper balance between relationship and works. Both are important but you see to get back to where I belonged I needed to put more into my relationship with God than trying to serve him.
As I write this I am reminded of a bible story that has always been an enigma to me. Cain and Abel. Cain a farmer and Abel a shepherd. Cain brings a sacrifice to God, the works of his hands. A bad thing? I wouldn’t have thought so.
Abel on the other hand brings a lamb, the best parts and offers his sacrifice to God.
As a father myself, in my finite way of thinking, if I had two of my children bring me a gift I would appreciate and love both equally. Perhaps one gift was something that was not as costly as the other in terms of matters of the heart. You know, one gives you a poem specifically written for your encouragement. The other a pair of gloves I needed from his clothing business.
But what gift meant more and longer lasting?
To me it seems that they both gave from the heart so I don’t understand God not being happy with the gift Cain gave. Well you know the outcome. Cain gets pissed off and kills Abel.
An over reaction? I would think so.
So why did God allow that to happen? And if Abel was on the right track why write him out of the story.
Now lets fast forward a few thousand years. having read or heard the same story I read,Paul writes in Hebrews 11: 3 “Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
Would we not have gotten the point or heard the story if Cain didn’t send Abel back to God?
I am sure the bible historians could put me straight on this one.
So if I am reading this right, God prefers our sacrifices to be of the heart more so than from the works of our hands. As I write this I am making a mental note.
A more up to date example could be learned from Jesus’ two friends, Mary and Martha when he visited them in their home. Mary sat at Jesus feet to spend time with her saviour, the one she loved dearly and Martha who also loved Jesus was busy, serving in the background taking care of business.
I am sure Jesus loved them equally but He took the opportunity to chide Martha when she complained that she was doing all the work. He told her that Mary had chosen the better part. Sitting at his feet and spending time with him hearing his word.
So let me see if I got this in perspective. Jesus first, service second.
I am a slow learner but a learner just the same.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17 (KJV)