Living a Balanced Life
Text: 1 Peter 5:6-12
by Robert J. Young

Ever been disoriented? Unbalanced? Almost all have experienced such physically--young child, run in circles, swing, merry-go-round, tilt-a-whirl. Have you ever been lost? Being lost is a kind of disorientation, loss of direction, loss of balance. May have experienced lack of balance physically in learning to ride bicycle.
But today we are not talking about physical disorientation. More than that. Socially disoriented, move to new town, best friend moves away, or leave home for college, have to make new friends, meet people you've never met. When our sons were 16, 13, and 12, we moved. Social disorientation. Further, really never had learned how to make friends, always just had them. Experienced social disorientation.
Or consider emotional disorientation, loss of emotional balance. Life buffets us, surprises us, frustrates, disappoints, denies, separates. First preaching job in southwestern Arkansas, Ridley Payne, died day after he retired. He laid in state at the house, I visited, but what does a 22-year old preacher say? I had to learn quickly--I did 27 funerals in 27 months with that church before we moved to Tulsa. I visited Ridley's widow, Annabelle, after funeral was over, phone rang, I presume caller asked what we were doing. "Picking up the love and putting away the memories." Hard to deal with emotional disorientation.

Life disorients in all of those ways, directionless, wandering, purposeless, Jer. 10:23: 17:9. Life disorients you when get fired. Happened to us the second Sunday in August before our eldest was to start kindergarten.... [camp, call, forgot sermon notes....] Disorientation!
Psychologists have fancy word for this balance--homeostasis. In systems studies and thinking, systems unbalance. You have unbalanced your family by leaving it, unbalanced your church at home by leaving it, and can unbalance this church by coming to it. When systems lose balance, must seek new balance, new system.
When preachers come to a church, unbalances it. When preachers leave a church, unbalances it. What will we do when life unbalances us, pushes us overboard, into the sea, adrift, barely able to swim?
Bible tells us about a several people who seemed to live a lot of his life unbalanced. In OT, one classic example is Job. My nomination for the NT is Peter. Begin with one of more familiar passages in Mt. 14....

Peter, Mt. 17, didn't know what to say because he was afraid, comes up with hairbrained idea about building houses of worship for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus.
Peter, I'll never deny you, even if everyone else stays.
Jesus, speaking to Peter, Get thee behind me Satan.
Jesus, all that was in that gaze as his eyes meet Peter's eyes, and the cock crows, and Peter sinks.
Jesus saying, Peter, do you love me, and Peter is grieved because he cannot affirm any goodness or power within himself to love Jesus.

Yet, Peter, the day of Pentecost preacher. Peter, the three cock crows, the three questions, the three visions, hard-headed, disoriented, impetuous, risk taker, Peter. Apostles, inner circle, you are the Christ. Peter, our reading, 1 Peter 5:6-12. Physical disorientation, social, emotional, but perhaps the worst--spiritual disorientation. That time when you just don't want God. Don't want church, don't want friends, don't want....
What will we do? Listen to one who went through the same experience. As we were reminded last Sunday--rejoicing in suffering, patient in trials, growing despite persecutions, protected, delivered, promised... Listen to this same Peter as he matures in Christ.

I. DEPEND upon God for secure BALANCE, 5:6-7.
Life is filled with tensions--present and future, real and ideal, problems and promises, hopeless experience and hopeful expectation.... Depend upon God. Fear is natural, Peter looked about and was afraid, Jesus speaks directly to him in asking why his faith is so small. But little faith in a big God is enough.

One of my favorite descriptions of Job is that of faithful lament. God is God, he sustains. If you and I can depend upon him with that kind of faith, life goes much better.

II. DEVELOP with God a strong BASE, 9-11.
God is at work, come to know him, love him, hear him, join him, believe him, obey him, experience him.
God's true grace is in dealing gifts for daily Christian living.
God enables us to stand firm and develop faith through mending/adjusting, confirming/establishing, strengthening, founding.

III. DECIDE in God to share BURDENS, 9-12.
This is role of church, Christian community, Christian friends, fellowship, mutual sharing. We hope you will find here not just a place, but a people who encourage the process of spiritual growth. A people who depend upon God for everything, encourage spiritual development and individual faith, but are willing to share burdens and cares.

We hope you will make this church your church home away from home, indicate that desire so we can make the journey together, and look out for one another.

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Last updated February 20, 2001.