Thursday, September 18, 2008

Spiritual Poise

 “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed…” (Psalm 57:7a)

        “Lately I’ve noticed such a lack of balance in the lives of saints (including myself at times.” This observation came by email from a young friend of mine. She continued, “It seems that so many are up in the clouds one day, and barely able to crawl the next.” After venting her frustration, she asked, “Any words for me on this?” So, here are my words on the matter, for her and us.

        She is right, of course. There is an extremism of life, Christian as well as secular, that seems to mark today’s lifestyle as at no other time, from what I have read and observed. (I may be wrong, of course.)  I do know you will find lots of books in Christian bookstores about “victory” (in some cases it sounds more like hilarity), and there are shelves of material to help the despondent among us; but books on an everyday, one-step-ahead-of-the-other, walk of faith kind of living, do not often make the best seller list. But should we assume that the “lukewarmness” that sickens God (Rev. 3) is comparable to the steadiness evidenced in Psalm 112:7; Isaiah 26:3; and Acts 20:24? I don’t think so. Cold or hot is not necessarily the same as up or down.

        What we are talking about here is contentment, isn’t it? What I like to call “Spiritual poise.” That quality of life that is not dependent upon outward stimuli, even the spiritual kind, in order to keep moving in the Christian life. Some paraplegics are able to walk by means of an electric impulse that stimulates the dead nerves in their spine in a somewhat rhythmic fashion. This may be a blessing for a paraplegic, but the kind of artificial gait it pictures in the Christian life is sad. And uncalled for, I may add. We carry our Source of consolation, joy, and spiritual energy within us. It should not have to be generated by any outside influence.

        I often think that our lows are so low because we insist upon our highs being so high. Our Sunday services are too easily gauged by their enthusiasm of spirit rather than the presence of the Spirit of God. They aren’t the same, you know. In addition, as much as extremists either bemoan or else flaunt their extremism, it would seem to me they have the benefit of receiving either much pity on the one hand or much admiration on the other. And it is left for the “pluggers-away” to either pick up the pieces or sweep up the confetti.

        Everyone among us has good and bad days. And I understand there are certain temperaments that are more prone to this than are others. I am simply contending that the see-saw does not have to go so high that when you come back down you bump your you know what!

        Webster defines “fixed” thus: “attached or placed so as to be firm and not readily moveable.” That’s all I (and David am espousing. We have already been placed, positionally; now we only need to keep ourselves attached, practically. It was said of the Christians of Antioch that “with purpose of heart they would cleave to the Lord” (Acts 11:23).

        Can you and I say, as David did when fleeing from King Saul, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed”? If so, we are well on our way to a steadfast, and, yes, beautiful…Spiritual Poise.

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