It seems, among some, that balance is a word to be avoided in connection with spiritual matters. Take a look around you; our American society is a case in point. Families are out of balance; consider all of the abandoned children, abusive husbands, and reprobate wives. Dysfunctional families are accepted as the "norm."
Our young people face a culture that is out of balance. Satan has full sway over many, in the way they dress, talk, and what they watch. With the advent of the Internet and high-speed connections, access to filth is easier than ever. Not only are young people at risk, but older ones who ought to know better are, too!
Religion in general is out of balance, toward human doctrines and creeds. All man-made documents pale in comparison to God's Word. The Bible is our only standard; our only rule of faith and practice. How well I remember, a few years ago, a lady who came by my office. She was upset over something I had recently preached on the radio. She happened to mention her admiration for the Book of Mormon. I calmly pointed out that the Bible is the only revelation from God (2 Peter 1:3); she became furious.
"That's just bibliolatry," she sputtered.
"No, ma'am," I replied, "That's the truth."
She huffed, "What you need to do is get down on your knees and pray to God!"
I answered, "No, what you need to do is to go home, read your Bible, and obey it."
The divisions in "Christendom" would vanish if all would take the Bible alone as their guide. Unfortunately, as the Lord Himself said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23).
Even in the Lord's church, too many congregations and individuals are out of balance. It seems that the term "balance" has never been known among some preachers. God's admonition to Joshua is as timely now as it was when it was first delivered. "Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest" (Joshua 1:7). Brethren, the word "balance" is not a four-letter word, both literally and figuratively!
Some of my brethren cannot see the danger of false teachers. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Mt. 7:15). In spite of what Jesus said, there are those who are like the proverbial "ostrich," with their heads buried in the sand. They are like the Israelites of whom Isaiah wrote, "That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers, see not; and to the prophets, prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits" (Is. 30:9-10).
There are, however, those who see false teachers under every rock. They are like "Chicken Little" of the children's fable. Remember him? He was always saying, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" Or, "The Little Boy Who Cried, 'Wolf.'" Everyone ignored him until the danger came-and then, they were defenseless. These brethren are like those described in Acts 15:1; they want their way or no way. The apostles and elders wrote a letter to the Gentile brethren in the same chapter; they wrote in part, "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment" (Acts 15:24), emphasis mine- dh). Balance is a foreign concept to them!
Let us all resolve to stay within the confines of God's Word, and strive to keep a balance in our lives. It is in this way that our homes, our congregations, and our lives will be made strong.
-David W. Hester