There are many analogies thrown around, many metaphors given, and many philosophical statements made, in an attempt to encapsulate life and the world we live in. These methods create points of reference and pictures in our minds. So bear with me as I present yet another analogy.
Many times I consider that if the process of life as a believer could be described with one illustration, it could most accurately be done by painting a picture of a person walking on a tight-rope stretched over a vast canyon. This rope sider-webs in many different ways, enabling the walker to make small, course-altering decisions, while always heading in the general direction of the far side of the canyon.
Based on these little decisions he will have certain experiences along the way and end up at a certain point on the far side. This is of smaller consequence. The bigger problem is keeping balance on the journey over the canyon. Because you see, underneath is nothing but a mushy rubbery goo, waiting to bounce around the person who falls. But this person of course is fleet of foot, and there is no real danger in falling off unless he loses his focus and steps off, losing his balance.
Balance is key. Our entire lives as believers is spent discovering the balance God created from the beginning. From our birth we are presented with things that counter God’s plan. The enemy is busy creating counterfeits and extremes and he is flooding minds with them—shrouding the truth and God’s balanced plan.
So as we navigate life, making decisions every day, we soon see—if we are discerning—that it is all a balancing act. We discover that one extreme is generally as harmful as the other, and that the same author has created them all.
Take for example, the two extremes in religion, of legalism and leniency. Extremely legalistic people rely on a code to follow to lead them on a path of what they consider righteousness. Many believe that as long as they follow this code, they are OK, even if they commit sins outside of their code but which are actually condemned in the Bible. Extreme leniency in religion will say that grace covers everything, even repetitive unrepentant sin. Or they may come up with a twisted interpretation of the Bible to justify evil.
Both extremes are conducive to carnal living. But I have noticed that people who have their origins from either of these extremes, who are baptized in the Spirit, will move toward the other direction, but will stop short of the other extreme. They are being led by the Spirit, not a movement. At times the Spirit’s leading may appear to fall in one camp and sometimes the other, but is not solidly in either one.
People like this are hard to pin down by those following a movement. Many times criticisms of Spirit filled people come from both camps because the Spirit filled believer belongs to neither side.
Following this same vein of leniency versus staunchness, we can take a look at parenting as well. When do we discipline our children? When do we we take a softer approach to behavior problems? It’s a balancing act. Those who are not interested in finding the balance, will generally follow one extreme or the other—and neither extreme will benefit a child.
How about anarchy versus tyranny? Anarchists say they oppose tyranny, but their lack of structure does nothing to protect the weak, so it all comes full circle with some preying on others until they have tyranny. A tyrant might oppose the lack of structure and order in anarchy but his extreme authoritarianism will lead to riots and unrest, leading to anarchy.
Extremes are always reacting to one another—pulling apart from one another like a rubber band—the person unfortunate enough to be on it when it is released, is launched to the other extreme—having learned to thoroughly hate the one they came from. And since the one they came from is flawed, then by their reasoning the other one must be better.
This is a vicious cycle I have observed throughout my life, in many aspects—not just the ones mentioned above. Those are only examples. I have found myself many times on these back and forth chases.
The only thing that has gotten me out of the trap and cycle of extremism, is the power of Jesus through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are not able in our natural selves to fight the enemy and his lies. Without God’s help we are storm tossed wretches.
The best we can do is surrender to God through His son Jesus, read His word, and follow His Spirit’s leading. In this there is safety, stability, freedom and balance. By His help we can walk all the way across the canyon on the rope, following various of His leadings on different avenues of rope. But we never need to fear a fall to the depths—to be bounced around on the rubbery goo from one extreme to the other.