A Balanced Spirituality

Here’s the outline of a talk I gave a talk to the leaders of Ikthus East Bacolod City last 26 January 2019 at Beracha Farms, Alangilan, on How a Christian Leader Sets Priorities.

Here’s the outline/manuscript (please note that the actual talk varies from the manuscript, significantly at times):

It’s possible to go to extremes when it comes to spirituality.

One can become so heavenly minded as to be no earthly good. People with this mindset usually divide things into secular and sacred, and consider the former as inferior to the latter. Let’s call this “pie in the sky” spirituality.

On the other hand, some people embrace “worldly spirituality” and fail to discern that some activities, although not be neglected, should not be given more importance than they deserve. For them, everything is sacred as long as it is done for the glory of God. They have a point, but it needs to be qualified, as we will see later.

So balance is necessary.

I. A BALANCED SPIRITUALITY MEANS YOU SHOULD SEEK FIRST GOD’S KINGDOM AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Matthew 6:33 KJV

[33] But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

This comes first. But God’s kingdom and his righteousness is not confined to church-related or so-called ministry-related activities. God’s kingdom has to do with the gospel and love for people.

Mark 1:15 KJV

[15] And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Mark 12:32-34 KJV

[32] And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: [33] And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. [34] And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

God’s righteousness also has to do with doing justice.

Micah 6:8 KJV

[8] He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Isaiah 1:12-13,17 KJV

[12] When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? [13] Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. [17] Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Therefore, seeking God first does not mean legalistically insisting, for example, that one must attend Sunday worship services without fail. The needs of people come first, and when you meet those needs you’re seeking God first and his righteousness!

Matthew 12:11-12 KJV

[11] And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? [12] How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

II. A BALANCED SPIRITUALITY MEANS YOU SHOULD NOT NEGLECT YOUR “SECULAR” WORK.

Exodus 20:9 KJV

[9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 KJV

[11] And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; [12] That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Ephesians 6:5-7 KJV

[5] Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; [6] Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; [7] With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

2 Thessalonians 3:10 KJV

[10] For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

1 Timothy 5:8 KJV

[8] But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

III. A BALANCED SPIRITUALITY MEANS YOU ARE ALLOWED TO ENJOY LIFE AND HAVE LEISURE.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 KJV

[24] There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 KJV

[12] I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. [13] And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

IV. SOME PRACTICAL GUIDELINES

A) CHRONOS.

There is a time for everything. So do the right thing at the right time, not the right thing at the wrong time!

Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

[1] To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

B) CHOICE

While some choices might be better than others, as long as your choice is good, God “respects” your choice. But you must live with the consequences of your choices.

Genesis 2:16-17 KJV

[16] And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Ecclesiastes 9:7 KJV

[7] Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

Ecclesiastes 11:9 KJV

[9] Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

1 Corinthians 7:29-38 KJV

[29] But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; [30] And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; [31] And they that use this world, as not abusing it : for the fashion of this world passeth away. [32] But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: [33] But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. [34] There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. [35] And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. [36] But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. [37] Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. [38] So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

Luke 10:40-42 KJV

[40] But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [41] And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: [42] But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

C) CALLING

Not every need is for you to meet, no matter how urgent. You must have a call. In order to avoid burn-out, you must learn to say “No”. And in order to do that you must know your calling, and allocate your time and talents accordingly. Remember, your time, energy, and resources are limited. God gave you your calling for a reason.

“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him … So brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.” (1 Corinthians 7:7, 24)

Have faith in your calling! Otherwise, you will be tossed to and fro by every request, demand or need that comes along.

But be flexible.

Matthew 15:22-28 KJV

[22] And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. [23] But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. [24] But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [25] Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. [26] But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. [27] And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. [28] Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

D) CHARITY

1 Corinthians 13:3 KJV

[3] And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

You won’t last long as a lay-minister if you don’t love what you do. And you won’t love what you do if it’s done out of guilt. My rule is: If I feel I’m saying “Yes” to a commitment only because I feel guilty if I say “No”, then I say “No”. Better to say “No” now than to be bitter and resentful later. In any event, if I do something out of guilt and not out of love, it has no value. Better not to do it, so that I can have time and energy to do something I love and which therefore has value because I do it out of love.

Caveat: Don’t say no to the right things. There are things that only you can do which if they don’t get done means the interests of God’s kingdom will suffer greatly.

Advice to leaders: Don’t pre-empt the Holy Spirit. You are not the Holy Spirit. Let him do his work in his own time and in his own way. Your job is to pray. It is God’s job to send laborers to his harvest.

Author: attycortes

Filipino lawyer, preacher, composer.

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