It’s incredibly difficult to keep life “balanced”. I mean, with all the demands of my career and then the responsibilities of being a father and husband as well as ministry opportunities….at times I feel like a circus clown couldn’t juggle the load that I have. On top of all that, you have to budget some down time for yourself just to keep your sanity. If you leave that out, you’ll find that your family has a difficult time living with you.
Whether we realize it or not, we all tend to adjust our schedules and time to keepourselves on track with what we perceive is a “balanced” or”more balanced” life. It’s a never ending dance to find the right amount of your time that needs to be allocated to the things you need and want. For example, if you’ve been pulling an extra load at work, then you’re probably going to make yourself less available to your friends if it pulls you away from your family. Or if you and your spouse have recently been spread thin doing stuff for your kids, then you may feel the need to pull back on some of those activities, get a babysitter and get away with each other to strike a better “balance” with things at home. Whether we realize it or not, we make these adjustments according to our perception of what we think “balance” should look like in our lives. However, with “balance” being such a subjective topic and varying from person to person, how do I know if I ever have achieved it or am operating (at least momentarily) in it? It’s a fair question.
Whatdo the Scriptures say about the subject of “balance”? Surely our Father in Heaven is interested in me living a balanced lifestyle and has something to say about it in His word. But how can I tell if myperception of “balance” is anywhere close to His view of”balance”? And how can I know if I’m even coming close to living a balanced life the way He intends for me? I had these same questions too.
I read the New King James Version of the Bible, therefore most of my bible study materials are the same translation. So then the logical approach would be to start searching scriptures with the word “balance” in them, right? Well that didn’t really work out as planned. I didn’t find one scripture in the New Testament with that word. But I know that God has to be interested in this topic and surely He has something to say about this in the Bible. Hmmm. I did find one scripture with the word “scales”. It’s Revelation 6:5, but it’s quite apocalyptic having to do with the black horse whose rider is carrying a set of scales. Man, I feel like I’m not getting anywhere with this but then I looked up the original word in the Greek for the word “scales”. “Zugos” is the original word for “scales” or “balance”in the New Testament and it means exactly what you think. But at this moment, while looking this up in my Vine’s Expository Dictionary I made a startling discovery. Even though there’s only one scripture in the NT that uses the word “scales”, the original Greek word “zugos” is used many times in the NT–and it’s translated “yoke”.
Now I’m getting somewhere. “Zugos” means both metaphorically and literally “serving to couple two things together”. Ok, this is starting to make some sense to me. I immediately began to think about 2 Cor. 6 where Paul warns believers about being “unequally yoked” with unbelievers. That would be an “unbalanced relationship”. Of course! It’s starting to come more and more clear to me. But then my eyes really start to come into focus when I see what Jesus had to say in Matt. 11:29-30:
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I’m no expert in oxen but the principle of oxen yoked together is pretty astounding. Thanks to Google I’ve discovered that when you yoke two oxen together their strength to pull becomes exponentially stronger. In other words, two oxen yoked together can pull about 3-4 times the amount that two individual oxen can pull, combined. Also, I discovered that farmers would train the oxen by yoking a younger ox to a more experienced ox. The mature ox would do the main pulling and the immature ox would then learn to keep pace alongside. If the younger ox would get ahead or lag behind the mature ox, it would be “out of balance” and cause problems or pain. Keeping pace with the lead ox was key.
Coming to this realization was a huge eye opener for me: my perception of “balance” and what I was striving for was simply time management. (By the way, healthy time management is a good thing). But now I begin to see in a different light that a godly balance for me to pursue is to be yoked to Jesus. Yokes are not meant for rest, they are meant for work. Whenever I read this passage I always thought Jesus was essentially telling me, “Here, your burden is too heavy. Take this and put Mine on. It’s a lighter, sportier model of yoke and it’s going to be a lot easier for you. Call me if you’ve got any questions.” It wasn’t really until I discovered what “zugos” meant that noticed Jesus’ invitation that to more restful productivity was for me to yoke to Him. Oh man, it’s the gospel 101. When I yoke up to Christ and keep pace with His leading, not getting ahead of Him or behind, then the Father can accomplish exponentially more through us than He can just through me alone trying harder to do His will. It’s only when I’m in sync, in step with His leading that the power of His grace is available to me as I walk through life. Grace is operating in His strength, not mine….and it’s a beautiful illustration of”balance”.
Ok, I see it now. If I want my life to be more “balanced” according to the way He intends for me, then I need to yoke up to Him. In my marriage, am I doing it my way or am I yoked to Him in how to be a good husband? Am I yoked to Him in how I deal with my kids? Do I follow the leading of Christ at work, or do I get things done my way without ever asking Him? You get the picture.
I encourage you in all things; evaluate whether you are yoked to Christ or whether you’re just doing things in your own strength. If you’re worn out from trying to constantly juggle what you perceive to be a “balanced” life, my prayer is that you simplify your approach by yoking up to Christ in all you do and simply follow his leading. Stay by His side, not getting ahead or dragging behind. After a short while you’ll be able to look behind you and see how much more effective and productive your efforts have been and with so much more peace and rest too. And with much less striving, yoked up to Him I’ll find that it seems so much easier to maintain balance in life.
Guest Discerning Dad