Summary: Pt 3 of the series deals with boundaries and balance as necessary ingredients to Christian success.
The Secrets to Successful Living
Pt 3 – Two B Successful
We started a couple of weeks ago talking about this idea of success in Christian living. We talked last about redefining the idea of success, beginning to measure success not as the world does but by a new set of measures. Last week we looked at the second secret to successful Christian living; keeping Christ as the central focus of life. Developing a Kingdom mentality and putting away the idols and stuff that clutter up our hearts. This morning I want to turn our attention to the passage in I Timothy – as Paul shares with Timothy the characteristics of those who are qualified to serve in leadership of the church – in other words successful Christians. Paul makes it pretty clear that to be successful we need 2 B’s in our life; Balance and Boundaries.
If we want to be successful we need…
Boundaries – We live today in perhaps the most difficult time our culture and country has ever experienced. The culture is shifting at such a rapid pace that it’s almost impossible to keep up with. Fashion, politics, ethics, morality, right and wrong seem to shift with the daily tides. Every day we see people pushing at the edges of societal norms to see how far they can go. Pushing the edges leads to a how much can I show, how low can I go kind of attitude. It’s as if our culture is spinning out of control crying out “somebody stop me.” I think that is exactly what is happening – we live in a culture that has removed the boundaries and it’s left everyone trying to find them. I am not here today to tell you what boundaries to set – I’m not here to lay down the church rule of morality. I am here to tell you that God has set boundaries for our behavior and unless we begin to understand them better we are doomed to failure personally and culturally. We need to begin to establish Godly boundaries in three areas of life:
Physical Boundaries – A man has to know his limitations – Work: 13 times the word of God says “a man shall work for 6 days and rest for one”, - Body: Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, I cor 6:19 we need boundaries on what we do to and with our bodies - Dress: Dignified and modest – it’s simple it’s not the fashion police – it’s simply being reasonable.
Sexual Boundaries – How many of you have heard about the Swine Flu Pandemic in the US? To date there have been less than 50,000 cases in the US – dangerous yes but what if I told you there was an epidemic that you are not hearing about. What if I told you that there was an epidemic that currently infects 20% of the US population – and 50% of girls age 15-24? What if I told you 19 million people each year are being infected? Those are the CDC’s statistics for STD’s in America. When are we going to wake up and understand that we are killing ourselves? When are we going to wake up and understand that God not Oprah set’s the boundaries for sexual integrity. Flee sexual immorality the scripture tells us. If we don’t begin to set sexual boundaries soon our culture is doomed to fail as all other cultures before us have. Pornography, infidelity, casual sexuality – how’s that working out for us? Purity until marriage may sound outdated but it’s still God’s plan for your happiness.
Spiritual Boundaries – We need to know God for who He is and His word for what it is. This is not a book of good idea’s it is God’s manual for life and living. God says to Joshua “Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.”
Balance – In Paul’s instruction we see a delicate balance – between the spiritual and the practical – between ministry and family – between church and society – between leading and following. Life is a delicate balance. The truth of success is that the better we learn to balance our lives the more successful we become. Oh people who are driven in one area of life often become successful in that one area of life but all the rest of life seems to be a mess. Donald Trump has been a great success in business but a dismal failure in almost every other area of his life. It’s interesting that Paul does not say to Timothy an overseer or deacon should be a man who spends all his time at the church. A man who gives everything he has to the work. A man who forsakes everything else to do the work of ministry. Solomon writes about this balance when he penned Ecclesiastes 3:1-11. Life and success are about balancing our time between work and rest, ministry and family, labor and play, others and self. We need each side if we want the scale to balance. There is a fluid freedom to the balanced life – the unbalanced life leads to the hectic chaotic mess that most of us live in. If you want to find balance look no further than the life of Jesus – His life always in a state of balance – even to the point of leaving the crowds to sail across the Sea of Galilee to find rest.