Summary: The importance of being balanced.
This is the time of year when we make new resolutions about things we are planning to do this year. Although we start out with good intentions, most of our resolutions fall by the wayside soon after the year begins. The temptation to return to what is normal and comfortable is too great to pass up. Today, I want you to consider making a resolution that will change the rest of your life. It will require some modification to your behavior and ways of thinking, but the payoff will be well worth it.
This resolution can be summed up in one word: Balance. When I think of balance, I think of opposites. Have you ever heard the saying “opposites attract”? It is believed your “opposite” brings you back to the middle. Think about a scale that is balanced. Whatever you add to one side must be added to the “opposite” side in order for the pole to remain balanced.
Have you every eaten something so sweet that you craved something salty afterwards? Your taste buds were trying to get back into balance. When you’re cold and take a nice warm shower, the shower puts your body back into balance. I want you to make a resolution to add balance to your life in these three areas: physical needs/wants, relationships and our quest for power.
According to Mr. Webster, “Balance is bodily or mental stability; a weight, value, etc that counteracts another; equality, to bring into proportion.” When you’re balanced, you are not swayed to the right or the left. You are walking a straight path.
Balance is acquired and maintained based on the choices we make. Our daily choices demonstrate our understanding of who we are in Christ and our position as children of God. Acquiring and maintaining balance requires not only that you understand who and whose you are, but also what you have in your possession – what you have been given. When you understand this, your choices change.
Let me give you an example that we will look at from two angles. First, consider someone who knows how to fight. This person knows that he can fight, yet he keeps it under control. If someone tries to bully him, the knowledge of knowing that he can take the person out is more powerful than actually doing it. The power does not come from taking action but in walking away. Now consider the bully. Most bullies are physically bigger, but are often afraid to fight. They get their bluff in because they know if push comes to shove, they may not be the best fighter, so this way they never have to find out. The bully’s power comes not from his being able to hurt someone, but the “perception” that he could hurt someone. The person who knows how to fight makes a choice based on reality, however, the bully influenced choices based on perception.
In the scripture we are going to read, we will see this same scenario played out, just in a different way. Turn with me to Matthew 4:1-11 where we will find the three areas we need to get into balance. Before we read this Scripture, I want you to understand this key point which, hopefully, will make this scripture more understandable for you. When Jesus was in heaven, Satan knew Him. Jesus was there when Satan was kicked out of heaven. So Satan knew of the eternal existence of Jesus. Now when Jesus came to the earth to save mankind, Satan again knew that He was coming. Now here is what you need to understand, Satan did not know what Jesus looked like. He did not look on earth as He did in heaven and that is why Satan could not find Him when He was a baby. When He grew into a man, Satan still did not know for sure if this was “the” Jesus and that is why He tempted Him, to discern for sure if this was Him.
“And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matt. 4:2-4
Jesus had just been baptized and now He has been fasting for forty days and nights. His body is tired and He is hungry – a dangerous combination for someone who is not in balance – and Satan comes and tries to tempt Him. Satan knows that He is the Son of God; he also knows Jesus was walking the earth as a man and subject to the same temptations as other men. So knowing that Jesus was hungry and tired, Satan offered Him food, something pleasurable to the body. If he accepted this food, Jesus knew he would sacrifice His relationship with and His mission from His Father. He was our sacrificial lamb – one without a blemish. If He had given in to the needs of His body, He could no longer be the perfect sacrifice. And, without His sacrifice, we would as Gentiles and would not be here at this Church praising God.