Sunday, October 2, 2016

Christian Balance

”Are you so heavenly minded that you are no earthy good? Are you so earthly minded that you are no heavenly good?”
--Dr. Steven Rice

We live in a world where people live in extremes. But, as is the principle of Eccl. 3:1-8 and Romans 10:2, I believe believers ought to live in a healthy balance.

Let me say by word of qualification before I elaborate further that there are areas in a Christian life that need NOT be balanced. We believers ought to kill sin before it kills us, thus the need for extreme measures to achieve it if need be. Love for God is first and foremost before love for fellow men. And refusal to evangelize is tantamount to ingratitude for what Christ has done for us. We have to regard as sin what God regards as sin, and NOT to regard as sin what God does NOT regard as sin (even believers have the tendency to the latter, oftentimes in subtle ways, which is tantamount to adding to the Scriptures and/or despising God's creation).

However in areas that are neither commanded nor prohibited, neither black nor white, the pursuit of Biblical balance is vital because leaning to one extreme or the other can become (not always immediately is) a heresy. For example, you may want too badly to marry, or maybe you are tempted to be impatient. So what you do to resolve the problem is to view marriage as an abomination (asceticism) and thus not marry at all, or keep delaying the time to move forward even if the time is right. Just because you’re afraid to kill, does that mean you will never use a knife? Or learn to drive a car? Just because you’re afraid/tempted to get too close or too attached to a brother/sister not your spouse, does it mean you can no longer see him for what he really is: brother/sister in Christ, a friend, treat him as such, (and maybe even develop a healthy close relationship with him if permissible)?

The Pharisees were themselves extremists. They thought what they were doing was right, but actually their religious extremism was displeasing to God, that Jesus openly called them hypocrites (Matthew 23).

We too have that tendency to overreact to things, which comes in response to what someone does, or a guise of repairing a false doctrine.

If a parent is too permissive to a child, another parent can overreact by being too strict. Since we ought not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, women's criteria for a husband is elder material. If one church advocates salvation by works, another church, to counter such, can overreact by advocating salvation without works at all. If one church does not preach repentance, one church can overreact by over-impressing upon a person his sins, forgetting that there IS cleansing in Christ who promised rest (Matt. 11:28)--and thus they appear self-righteous and judgmental. Thus balance is also vital since, if not pursued, there will always be discord and divisions even within a local church--add to that our tendency to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Even in preaching to, teaching, and ministering to others, the emphasis of one point ought not to diminish the importance of another. The need to store treasures in Heaven can be over-emphasized at the expense of legitimate earthly prosperity and the need to diligently work; the duty to give offerings to God, at the expense of responsible and faithful stewardship, and of "[rendering] to Caesar the things that are Caesar's".

But Jesus was balanced in every way. For one, it was His purpose for coming to earth to heal souls, yet He took the time to heal the sick, the blind, the paralyzed, and even raise a corpse, without losing focus of His priorities. Luke also says He grew in favor with God and man (Luke 2). He is our perfect example.

So we too have to pursue a Biblically balanced Christian life, and here are some ways to do so: (list is inexhaustive)
  • Neither judgmental nor ignorant/oblivious
  • Neither slothful nor unrestrained
  • Neither carnal nor ascetic
  • Neither impatient nor procrastinating

  • Knowing when to speak and when not to
  • What to say and what not to say
  • When to be serious and when to take lightly
  • When to overlook and when to confront
  • When to encourage and when to hurt

  • Sorrowful yet looking up
  • Both a student and a teacher of the Word
  • Spiritual and physical health care
  • Patient yet importune
  • Trusting but diligent
  • Careful but not too cautious (unless of course it kills or robs you)
  • Generous yet responsible
  • Optimistic or pessimistic but realistic
  • Protective but not over-protective
  • Being at peace with all men, but God-pleasers
  • God-, others-centered and personal, private and public prayers
  • Needers yet not lovers of money

And the list can go on and on. And although we cannot attain to that perfect balance, like holiness it is a pursuit that makes us different from the world.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Avoiding Defective Dating

To quote from the book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye", [the title is not as it seems/sounds]

"The first step is to change your attitude toward relationships... Until we renew our ways of thinking about love and relationships, our lifestyles will continue to flounder in the mire of defective dating."

Here the author gives five important "new attitudes" that "flow from our view of three areas: love, purity, and singleness".
  1. Every relationship is an opportunity to model Christ's love.

  2. My unmarried years are a gift from God.

  3. I don't need to pursue a romantic relationship before I'm ready for marriage.

  4. I cannot "own" someone outside marriage. (dili imung uyab ang magbuot nimu)

  5. I will avoid situations that could compromise the purity of my body or mind.

"Choosing to quit the dating game doesn't mean rejecting friendship with the opposite sex, companionship, romance, or marriage. We can still pursue these things; we just choose to pursue them on God's terms and in His time.... 'seek first His kingdom and His righteousness' (Matthew 6:33).

"Leaving dating behind is a by-product of God's primary desire for us to consume ourselves with seeking him wholeheartedly."

There is a right time for everything. But "the right thing at the wrong time is a wrong thing".

The right question to ask is "Has God given me His [or the] best?", but "Am I giving God my best?". "You and I will never experience God's best--in singleness or in marriage--until we give God our all.

So have you given God your all? Do you prioritize living the way God wants you to live, and not living the way you want to live? Give Him your all. Please Him. Honor Him for the right reasons, and He will honor and reward you.

Defective Dating

To quote from "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" book [the title of the book isn't as it looks/sounds],

"If we continue to date according to the system as it exists today, we'll more than likely swerve in to trouble. Good intentions aren't enough....many...couples today...founded their relationship on our cultures's defective attitude and patterns for romance. Unfortunately, even in their adulthood they continue o reap the consequences.

According to the book, the following seven habits of highly defective dating are some of the "swerves" dating relationships often make:

  1. Dating tends to skip the friendship stage of a relationship.

  2. Dating often mistakes a physical relationship for love.

  3. Dating often isolates a couple from other vital relationships.

  4. Dating can distract young adults from their primary responsibility of preparing for the future, like developing their God-given abilities and skills.

  5. Dating can cause discontentment with God's gift of singleness.

  6. Dating can create and artificial environment for evaluating another person's character.

  7. Dating often becomes and end in itself (no marriage in mind or planned).

Dating is supposed to be the bridge between friendship and marriage, the author says. The couple need to move on. The bridge isn't a destination. It's the road to the destination--marriage. The couple must start with friendship and pass through dating to get to marriage.

Men, if you don't plan to marry your partner, what are you dating for? Are you using her to satisfy your wants and/or needs? Or are you a COWARD!!

Women, if your partner doesn't intend to marry you, BUWAGA INTAWN!!! He's either being selfish or a coward. He might be using you to satisfy his desire, or he might be timid and scared, and has no plan to marry you. Why date him...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Who can be saved? How?

Speaking to unbelievers (those who aren't true Christians), anyone can be saved. But only a few are and will be saved. In fact, majority of the world, of the Philippines, of Cebu, will be damned to Hell forever.

How can you get to Heaven? The Bible says you have to "repent and believe" (Mark 1:15). You got to keep repenting of your sins and keep trusting on God everyday, every hour, every minute, every second of you life. But you can't do these by yourself. You have to pray that God will give you the grace and the strength to persevere in these things.

This is not JUST an invitation. It's not JUST a "make-a-decision" thing. This is a COMMAND. Repent of your sins, and believe in the Gospel. If you don't, you know you'll be damned for Hell and eternal torment.

You cannot save yourself, you know. So "let God and let go". Stop trying to save yourself by your good deeds/works, by living an honorable life. Turn to God instead in true repentance and true faith. You have hope as long as you're alive.

Hope and pray this post helps. ;-)