Text: Ephesians 6:10-17 October 21, 2012
1) Physical imbalance: For the last few years, I have suffered from inner-ear problems that cause me to lose my balance. Without warning, something inside my ear is upset and I become dizzy. If I try to sit up in the morning, a condition called vertigo makes it difficult and I will lean to one side. If I lie down, the ceiling is spinning like seasick in an ocean. No amount of can compensate for the power of the inner ear to disrupt and disturb. An active person like me finds these unwelcome episodes frustrating.
2) Spiritual imbalance: Sometimes life is turned upside down without warning. Something unexpected upsets our routine and we are knocked off-balance. Perhaps it¡¯s bad news about our job being eliminated or bad news of a lab test from your doctor¡¯s office. It may be some attacks from spiritual enemy and failure on our side. In each case, our spiritual balance is hammered, and we feel as if we are unable to stand. When we think things are going well with life, we get knocked off balance without any warning and we don¡¯t know what to do or where to go. But moments like this should cause us to turn to God who is the ultimate source of power and place of security.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUAL BALANCE:
1) It is the king¡¯s longing: ¡°He restored my soul. He guides me in the path of righteousness.¡± (Psalm 23:3) King David was honored to be called as ¡°the man after God¡¯s heart.¡± In his prayer in the most popular psalm 23, he testified that God had restored the spiritual condition of his soul, that he could see and follow God¡¯s lead of his life in the path of righteousness. Restoring the soul to balanced condition so he could have the strength to walk in the path God has led him to walk.
2) It is in faithful servant: ¡°Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. (Daniel 6:3, KJV)Daniel ascended to powerful position from a captive in a foreign country because of his excellent spiritual condition. While the world recognizes secular knowledge and human skill, God recognizes spiritual quality to be the most important in serving him both in his work and in the society where God has assigned us to serve. Especially in service of God¡¯s church, spiritual condition is always more important than human knowledge and skill.
3) It is in apostle¡¯s will: ¡°Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting strong.¡± (3 John 1:2) Through the prayer of John, the beloved disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, God wishes his people be strong both in physical and spiritual health. While the whole world pay so much attention to physical health and wellness, we as God¡¯s children need to also care about our spiritual wellness.
4) It is our ultimate pursuit: ¡°Since we have these promises, dear friends let¡¯s purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.¡± (2 Corinthians 7:1) Purify or keeping the body clean is popular in today¡¯s world. Millions of dollars were spent each year for this purpose. How much do we realize that we also need to pay attention to our spiritual condition that is pure and holy?
FACTORS CAUSING SPIRITUAL IMBALANCE:
1) Ignorant of spiritual darkness: ¡°For although they knew God, they neither glorify him as God nor gave thanks to him but their thought became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.¡± (Romans 1:22) Paul was talking about the Jews who were in God¡¯s chosen yet they didn¡¯t know nor want to see their spiritual darkness. Today many that called themselves God¡¯s people can¡¯t see their spiritual condition in darkness. Ignorance of spiritual condition is the major problem of many Christians. When people don¡¯t know they are sick, they continue to live in the danger of their sick condition.
2) Blocked by things of the world: ¡°Do not love the world or the things belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.¡± (1 John 2:15) When a Christian tunes his heart to the world and the things in the world, he is blocked from tuning his heart to the spirit of God. The things of the world shield off his heart, life and spirit from pursuing spiritual balance. When he is leaning closely toward the world, there is no intention or possibility to pursue a spiritual balance.
3) Building on wrong foundation: ¡°And I will say to my soul: Soul thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take life at ease. Eat, drink and be merry.¡± (Luke 12:19) This rich man was right to store his harvest in barn houses instead of leaving them to rod in the field. But he was wrong by putting his soul (spiritual life) on the foundation of the goods in barn houses. When anyone substitutes God with anything else, wealth, fame, power, or any person, his spiritual condition is in danger of crushing to the ground because of spiritual imbalance.
4) Sin could destroy the soul: ¡°If I cherish sin in my heart the Lord would not have listened.¡± (Psalm 66:18) King David didn¡¯t say if we have sinned and the Lord will not listen, because we all sin. He was talking if we ¡°cherish¡± (loving, keeping and won¡¯t let go of known sin). In that condition, our spiritual condition is not in tune or responsive with God and God¡¯s law of life. The soul of anyone who loves sin and keeps sinning can not have his spiritual condition right with God.
BIBLICAL STEPS TO SPIRITUAL BALANCE: (Eph. 6:10-17)
1) The desire to be spiritually strong: ¡°Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.¡± (6:10) This is the first and foremost important step to regain spiritual balance: we need to have the desire to do that. Many of the spiritually weak Christians stay weak and spiritual imbalance or unstable because they lack the desire to do so---they are happy with their condition. If someone who has no desire to stand up and walk, you can¡¯t pull him up and push him to go too far. The moment you let go of your supporting hands, he is going to fall down and stay down.
2) Getting to know our enemies: ¡°For our struggle is not against fresh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.¡± (6:12) Most pastors and Christians don¡¯t talk about a spiritual warfare going on in this world we live, but there is: a war between good and evil, light and darkness, right and wrong, peace an violence: our US Ambassador to Libya was killed by Islamic radicals attacked the US embassy. Evil forces are fighting God and God¡¯s people through politics, violence and false campaign to gain grounds to subdue the light of God and God¡¯s course. We are supposed to be soldiers of God to win the world, so we need to take strong stand with balanced spiritual power.
3) Keep up the fight and win: ¡°Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.¡± (6:13) ¡°Put on¡± (analabete) is ¡°pick up again (ana). It means if you have let down your guard, you need to pick up your armor and weapon again because there is a war going on. ¡°Stand your ground¡± (antistenai), to resist, fight back face to face with power (dunethete) not to lose any ground. Finally ¡°to stand¡± (stenai) standing up like a victor in sport, in wrestling. Paul portrays Christian life as a wrestling with the devil, that we need to pick up and put on the protecting armor God gives us so, we may be able to fight the devil and win the fight, not get beaten down , but able to stand up.
4) Make use of the armor of God: ¡°Stand firm then, with the belt of truth¡..And pray in the Spirit on all occasions.¡± (6:14-18) Paul listed seven pieces of armor God has given to us to fight and win the spiritual battle and keep our ground: Belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness; the gospel of peace and the shield of faith; helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit and finally persistence of prayer for ourselves and others. No one needs explanation on these spiritual weapons to win the spiritual warfare and be able to stand up firmly. If you feel weak in your spiritual power, check this list to see if any of the weapons is missing in your everyday life. Remember this is a spiritual war, and we can only win this war with these spiritual weapons of God.
1) How is your spiritual balance? How long have you been a Christian and how strong a Christian you are now? When facing temptations of the world and the fresh or in setting goals of life, how often you are able to take your ground and stand firm unwavering? Do you know the seven weapons God has prepared for you and how often have you used them to protect you from falling to schemes because you can¡¯t keep your spiritual balance? Isn¡¯t it time for you to do a spiritual inventory to check on your life: How well you are in keeping a spiritual balance.
2) Are you a winner or a loser? In practical life of this world, no one wants to be a loser; all want to be winners in everything. That is a good thing. How about your spiritual life? Are you a winner or a loser? Do you have the power to stand up with good balance so you can fight the spiritual warfare against Satan, the evil of the world and the weakness of your fresh? When you go to heaven and see the Lord, what will he say to you? Can he say: ¡°Good and faithful servant?¡± (Luke 19:17) If you are diligent and faithful in this world, why won¡¯t you be diligent and faithful in your spiritual pursuit? Pick up the armor again, keep fighting to win and you will receive the reward, the crown God has in stored for you.