I tried to keep my balance for a really long time.
A part of me knew there had to be something more in life, but a bigger part of me didn’t have the courage to believe I was able to change.
So I walked, step by step, on the balance beam. And I stared at the people running and dancing all around me, free from any ball and chain. I wondered how they got there. I wondered why they didn’t seem to keep count of the good things and the bad things and calculate a balance in-between.
I think we’ve all been there. On the balance beam. Maybe you’re still on it right now. Maybe you’re too scared to even move and your chest is pressed tight to the beam and your arms and legs are wrapped around it and you cling. You cling to safety. And security. And ease. Maybe if you just hold on tight enough for long enough you’ll make it through this life and avoid all of the hard things.
It’s almost ingrained in us from the beginning. The good things we do are praised. The bad things we do are punished. Success and failure. Right and wrong. Acceptance and rejection. It’s black and white in a world that insists on telling you your worth. On calculating your value based on your good deeds. On condemning you based on all of your broken things.
And we care SO MUCH about how the world ranks us, that we start to think things MUST work the same in God’s economy. That we must have been made by a God who forms us to fend for ourselves. Who keeps track of the good and righteous things we do and Who subtracts when we fail and fall short. Who sits up on a mighty throne and calculates our odds at entering the Kingdom of Heaven based on all of the things we do. Or don’t do. Or tried and failed at. Or succeeded at and won. Or accumulated. Or gave away. We begin to see God as an angry mathematician rather than a Father who loves without condition.
So we step up on the balance beam and walk through life calculating EVERYTHING. On one side of the scale is our good works. On the other is our bad deeds. And we lie and we steal and we’re selfish, so we start to lose our balance and stumble to our left. Then we go on the mission trip and we give to the needy and we’re kind and we pull back towards the right and find our footing again. Then comes the temptation with our boyfriend and the sexual sin that leaves us far more empty then we’re prepared to feel so we sit back and rationalize that aside from that we love and support him well and we were there for him when he needed us and he reminded us that we were SUCH a good person. And so we cling to that hope. That we’re good, after all. And the balance beam pulls left and right and we’re terrified to fall.
We’re in church every Sunday. And bible study on Wednesday. And FCA on Friday and we’re CONFIDENT we’re filling our arsenal with good things. Then we have those drinks because we don’t want to seem unsocial and we end up with our face in a toilet regretting the sips we took and the pictures they took and pieces that came unhooked from the puzzle of your confidence you’d been trying desperately to complete.
And we tip-toe through life on the balance beam. Chained to the equations and the numbers and the odds. Fighting for respect and unsure of who we are and EXHAUSTED from trying to keep it all balanced. We’re SURE there’s got to be more to life but convinced this is what life IS. That Christianity is just another piece in the equation and completely unaware that it’s Christ’s grace that sets you free. You hold the key in your hand to release yourself from the chains clamping your ankles to the balance beam of good works, and you don’t even realize what’s in your possession. What was already given to you with 3 nails and a willing King.
We hope we’re just mistakers, right? That all of the messy, broken regrets and stubborn decisions were mistakes. That we have a little more good in us than bad–and surely that counts for something. And we fail to admit that we’re sinners that have fallen short and are incapable of existing in the presence of a King. Because that word is ugly, right? It’s uncomfortable. So uncomfortable, in fact, that even some churches leave it out of the vocabulary. We avoid talking about the fact that we are standing on the edge of hell, an eternity of suffering, because it causes us to stir in our seats.
But what if embracing the HARDEST things is exactly what sets us free?
You see, a mistaker needs an equation. A calculation of right and wrong. A mistaker is bound for life on a balance beam if they have any conscience at all.
But a sinner holds NO HOPE at a balance beam meaning anything. Because the wages of sin is death. And an equation can’t save us from that. The hope for a sinner lies in ONLY one thing: a SAVIOR. And we have a SAVIOR in Jesus, King of Kings.
So lose your balance, broken sinner. And call on the KING. You are forgiven. And righteous. And whole-heartedly redeemed.
It’s due time we use grace for what grace was made for–a key to unlock the chains on your bondage of your good or bad works earning anything. Jump off of the balance beam! You’re slate is wiped clean. Cannonball from the balancing act and run and dance and be FREE!
You don’t have to live life working to stay balanced any longer. You’re wasting time and energy and hope if you’re hoping your equation will do anything to justify where your soul is headed at the end of your life. The price for your eternity in Heaven was paid when the God this world thinks is vengeful and angry actually came to Earth and lived perfectly and took death on your behalf. In complete humility.
Religion for the mistaker works by convincing you that if you obey, then God will love and accept you.
But the Gospel for the sinner reminds you that you are loved and accepted, therefore we have the freedom and desire to obey in response. And the “good things” flow from us NOT by our own strength…or in any attempt to balance out the bad. But because the King’s Spirit lives within us and every good and perfect things comes by HIS strength. (James 1:17)
So rise up, weary sinner. And run free in His grace.
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