By Rev. J. Keith Long
Do you live a balanced life? When your life seems to be running smoothly and everything is happening just like you like, you may not give much thought to what it means. When you seem to be at wits’ end, you may be thinking there must be a better way.
Luke 10:27 reads: He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.*
Look closely at what this says. It says with your heart. The heart, the amazing muscle made to provide life-giving blood to all of the body. Without the heart, the body cannot do its amazing things. Without blood, the brain will not function, the arms and legs will not move, the body cannot live. One of the best ways to honor God is with your heart, by using the gift of life, of the blood flowing through you to do good things, to say good things, and to be good.
Your heart is maintained by exercise. As Americans, we are prone to spend too much time in the car, in front of the television, or at the computer. The heart as a muscle needs work to keep doing what it does at the optimum. The healthy heart provides for you the opportunity to love God with all of your strength. The muscles provide strength to move your legs, your arms, all the parts of you that hugs, carries, moves, speaks, and shares. Health professionals will say this: get moving. Movement maintains, lots of movement builds, but most important is the first step you take.
Love God with your mind. In other words, think. Wisdom and knowledge are two very different things. Wisdom, for me, is a daily process. Living each day learning something and gaining knowledge is mostly helpful, but I can honestly say some things I hold as knowledge are not always helpful. So therefore, wisdom is about knowing the difference and what makes your life better becomes the very best wisdom.
I skipped over “being” because for me it is the entire package. Your heart, your muscles, your mind, every part of you is combined as the temple for your soul. All of your being means everything about you. Jesus said in answer to the question, “What must I do to have eternal life?” He said, “Do these things.” Not some of them_all of them. Not part of the time or most of the time but all of the time.
Finding Balance is Key
Balance, the act of having enough, not too much, not too little, this is the key to most things if not all things. I am really strong on spiritual practices, but I need to work on my physical practices. My emotions seem to be doing OK, my relationships are trending up. My visits to my healthcare providers, including the dentist, are in check. I am making better decisions about what I eat, when, and how much. Thinking about these areas of my life and finding balance is an opportunity.
Thinking about these things has shown me there is a better way. I thought I was doing OK, but consideration of these aspects has given me a way to be happier—with more joy—even in the midst of stress, crisis, or anything else going on.
Practice is Necessary
Like an athlete, for any sport they will practice and work at keeping their skills up to be their personal best. Like a piano player or any musician, even for a drummer, practice is necessary to maintain the talent. It seems that for all of us the same is true: we must have a routine of practice that keeps our mind, body and soul in its best condition. As you live, be encouraged that your God has given you abundance. How you use it, what you do with it, that is something not to be squandered; it is more precious than gold.
*Bible Reference – Common English Bible