Prov. 10:4-5; Ex. 20:8-11; Col. 2:16-17
I just wanted to wrap up the short study on laziness/diligence with some final thoughts on balance. I haven’t read Aristotle yet, but I intend to someday. He was a Greek philosopher whom the early Christians used quite a bit to build a bridge between the Roman culture and the Good News of Christ. The reason for this is because a lot of what he taught is right in line with Scripture. Probably the biggest contribution he made was the “Golden Mean.” This meant that the best way to live was to find a happy medium between extremes. If you’re too passionate, you might tend to fly off the handle and offend people unnecessarily. If you completely repress your emotions, you’ll isolate yourself and be something less than fully human.
If you’ve been reading this devotional for a while, you can probably figure out why this appeals to me. Scripture is all about finding the proper balance between extremes. That’s why I love pointing out “tension” verses, those in which two opposite Biblical truths are held in tension in order to provide the perfect balance for us. The Lord has made each of us different, with different personalities with the attendant strengths and weaknesses. As we’ve discussed before, some Christians are more comfortable as “faith” Christians who like to trust God for everything but have a tendency to let things go when they should act. Others are more “action” types who want to “do something” and tend to end up trusting in themselves and not enough on the Almighty.
That’s why it’s important to work towards knowing the Bible in its entirety. No one expects you to know it overnight, but it needs to be your goal to get on a systematic plan to eventually read it through on a consistent basis. That's the only way you get exposed to everything God has to say on a subject.
It’s the same way with work and rest. Solomon really hammers home the importance of hard work and the dangers of laziness. But he’s not the only author the Spirit used to compose the Scriptures. This issue made it into God’s “Top Ten,” so it’s pretty important to him. In fact, the fourth Commandment is a “tension” passage itself, providing good balance for us. For those of us (including myself) who tend towards laziness, it assumes that we’re going to work for six days out of the seven. For those who are in danger of succumbing to workaholism, it tells us to rest and to let those in our employ rest as well.
And even that’s not the end of the subject! Paul tells us that we shouldn’t let someone else judge us regarding the observance of Old Testament holidays, and he specifically mentions the Sabbath as an example. He then goes on to tell us that all the ceremonial aspects of the Law (including the holidays) are only shadows, and that the reality is in Christ. We’re not under obligation (in a legalistic sense) to follow the Sabbath. But the pattern of work and rest is something that the Lord has woven into creation. You can see it everywhere: in the plant world, in the insect world, and among mammals. If you ignore that pattern (in either direction), it’ll catch up to you.
I think the trick is some self-evaluation under the guidance of the Spirit. Get to know the weaknesses that come with your personality. Learn and focus on Scriptures that focus on those weaknesses. And cooperate with the Holy Spirit to make some changes. I know, easy to say. But it seems to me to be the only way to grow to be more like Jesus. Make sense?
Lord Jesus, I'm so weak, but you are so strong. Thank you for grace that’s more than sufficient, both to forgive and to change.