An old friend and co-worker used to say this phrase almost daily, which was obviously a mantra he tried to live by. Ten years later, it still pops up in my mind as I strive to find a balance between so many choices that this life presents where imbalance can be injurious. For us all, whether we’re married, single, have or have not children, work outside the home or our work is within the home, social introverts or extroverts, eat a healthy or gluttonous diet, or pursue physical strengthening by exercise or embrace a sedentary lifestyle; each of these instances offer us up options on how diligently or lackadaisically to find the middle ground. Are we performing the balancing act between spending enough time with family, with work, with friends, and with ourselves sufficiently? Whenever we tend to err too far to one side of the scale, the imbalance affects us, so finding that sweet spot smack dab in between is a constant struggle and, even moreso, to maintain the balance when we stumble upon it is nearly impossible. Although I agree with my friend and his call to be intentional in finding balance in everything, there, of course, is one arena where a proverbial imbalance is useful and sustaining; the maker and sustainer of all these underling balancing acts we juggle, God.
Admittedly, I thrive under pressure, crave compartmentalizing, and coordinate my self-discipline by only two categories: on or off, black or white, hot or cold, up or down, in or out, forward or backward, all or nothing. Not the most efficient methodology to live by, but it’s how I’m wired (which is not an excuse or defense when this faulty wiring brings sinful thoughts and actions to fruition). The in-between and mediocrity of anything drives me to boredom, which inevitably, prompts me to make changes and adjustments, generally of the extreme kind, just to shake things up a bit, one way or another.
Since my intrigue in theology began to develop deeper nearly five years past, I’ve often wondered whether this is yet another dip into the imbalance to feed my craving for the antithesis of indifference. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot or cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). This verse always beckons me back to the reality that to be what some would call an extremist, or elitist, when the topic of theology comes up, is actually quite a compliment. A self-righteous, self-fulfilling, haughty, or prideful type of compliment to offer myself props and hold against others who don’t share in this passion? A question that constantly keeps me in check, thanks be to God for keeping me humble, approachable, and relatable to most I come across (I still have much work do to in relating to others who boast an arrogance that intrinsically sets my switch into unholy territory).
A lot of life has happened since God sparked an interest in theology in me and, because of my desire to delve into this one “study of,” rather than the plethora of other “-ology” options available, the life that has happened, happened differently for me. If I hadn’t been drawn into the time spent developing a theology, things that have happened would look altogether confusing and bewildering. Knowing God’s character, through the study of the Bible, is the single, most precious, imbalanced aspect of my life. This has shaped and molded, warped and remodeled, every nook and cranny of my thought life. The imbalance of an interest in theology has, ultimately, brought all other aspects at risk of being unwisely imbalanced, in line, on par, and restfully balanced. This is not to infer that the juggling act between family, friends, work (yes, parents who stay in the home to rear children do work), worship, and carving out time to each one well is solved by a devotion to theology; however, having Him at the center of it all, He who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17), the balancing becomes more sustainable and the comprehension that our lack of control is ever present provides us with rest in Him who doesn’t lack an iota of control.
The fair test to gauge our temperature, whether we’re hot or cold, in view of Jesus’ admonishment in Revelation, is to read Scripture and measure what our hearts, souls, and minds weigh when we do so. If you’re an avid Bible reader, or haven’t opened one in too long, grab yours and read Nehemiah chapter 9 in its entirety. This passage is rich and fruitful for followers of Christ, full of theology and conviction. When reading it, discern your thoughts and essentially let Scripture take your temperature. Are you hot, cold, or lukewarm? We can be easily led into imbalance in one or more areas of our lives, seeking to be lukewarm, or mediocre, in these; however, in Jesus’ own words, to be lukewarm for Him puts us in a place where He will spit us out of His mouth. We needn’t find a balance when pursuing God, as we do in so many other parts of our lives; we need to seek a blatant imbalance towards the hot, the on, the in, the forward, and the all. The most difficulty is struggling to maintain that imbalance towards Him, steering clear of the murky, lukewarm waters. That, simply said, is by taking our temperature towards Him on a daily basis.