My life is anything but balanced. I rarely sleep enough. I’m always running late. I spend too much time surfing the web. I don’t spend enough time doing the things I claim I care most about. And God never gets enough of my time. I know I’m not alone and I think we as a culture are anything but balanced.
Balance is precisely what the Christian life is to be. It is a balance between sorrow and joy. It is the space amidst peace and tension. It is the eye of the storm. However, I know you couldn’t gather any of this from my lifestyle. The Christian life seems to be one of irony, but the only irony seems to be the fact that we don’t see it ourselves.
As we grow in faith, so does our awareness of sin, but this pales in comparison to our growing awareness of grace (Romans 5:20). In this way, we find balance between our sorrow over sin and iniquity and they joy inherent in God’s endless grace. If we focus too much on our sin, we become self-loathing and adopt a view that Christ’s blood was not enough to cleanse the soiling of our sin. If we focus too much on grace, then licentious is the label we fall into. No longer does sin matter and we once again shackle ourselves to this most cruel of masters (Romans 6:1–4).
We are to be aware of the inability of our humanity, yet find peace in the necessary submission. For those of you reading critically at this point, we all know no one is perfect. However, that is precisely what we must be to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, in this way we are at a loss. In full knowledge of this, Jesus spelled out how we can be saved from ourselves. He died one final death to imperfection for all (Romans 6:10–11. He sacrificed His life to show how we should obediently live a life of meekness fully dedicated to the Father. Focusing too much on our limitations leads to a life of apathy and self-pity. Yet, ignoring the inevitable recognition of our finite nature, we seek to become gods and challenge the only God for sovereignty.
We live in a world at war with itself. At the risk of making an obscure political statement, all around us is another story of us against them. We are called to be in the thick of it. It is our charge to help the world understand its brokenness and so take on the role of aggressor in a sense, though aggression is to have nothing to do with our conduct. At the same time, it has been our exemplified calling to willingly be the “them” decried by society, thus taking on simultaneously the role of afflicted. The coexistence of these roles in my life makes no sense, but they are essential. Without the role of aggressor (pardon my lack of vocabulary), we are spineless and our faith does no one good, not even ourselves. If we forget to turn the other cheek, then we are no better than a militant cult and deserve whatever ridicule may follow.
Irony is inevitable when you find hope, joy and peace in one man’s death. It is a paradox at any level, but within the paradox is our balance. We find joy in both the awareness of our iniquity and our salvation from it. We find peace in the presence of both inability and empowerment through submission. We find shelter in the midst of war and chaos. It doesn’t make sense, because it’s not supposed to. Rather than try to make sense of it, shouldn’t we entrust that to our loving and capable God?