A common accusation against Americans is that they are unwilling to share their wealth, that if America reduced defense spending by half and gave the other half to the third world, we would not be hated so much. It is reasoned that this magnanimous divvying up of the taxpayers’ money would surely make the world a better place. We are assured that the solution to many of the world’s problems can be found in a more equal distribution of wealth. The fact is, however, such utopian schemes will not work. The problem is not money. The problem is the failure to understand the real cause of the world’s ills.
The world is a very dangerous place. How does the Bible describe this present civilization?
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Tim. 3:1-5)
The problems in the world today are unsolvable. Leaders of some nations, in fact, exacerbate them. How do many of those in power conduct themselves? Here is the answer: “How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked” (Ps. 82:3-4). Do the powerful heed these instructions? The answer: “They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course” (v. 5). Indeed, the foundations of the earth are out of course-shaken, tottering, and rapidly slipping away. Men simply lack the balance to understand how to rule themselves in a manner that can truly achieve peace and prosperity for all. The idealistic thinking so prevalent in the world today cannot achieve this end. The Bible makes it plain that this utopian dream and world peace will not be achieved until Christ returns! (Micah 4:1-5).
The foundations of the world are out of course because men are not balanced in their thinking. There is little the individual can do to change this. There is an important key, however, in understanding both how to achieve balance in one’s personal life and how to make the best of the present situation. Christians are encouraged to receive the mind of Christ. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). Christ preexisted as a member of the Godhead. Paul states that He ” . . . made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:7-8). What does this Scripture reveal? It tells us that Christ was subject to the will of the Father. This is why He stated earlier: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). Jesus said even His message was from the Father. He said, ” . . . My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me” (John 7:16). All Christians would agree that this message was proclaimed by the most balanced mind that ever existed-that of Jesus Christ.
A Balanced Mind
Is Guided by the Bible
The mind of Christ illustrated a willingness to be subject to the will of God. God’s will is made known through His Word-the Holy Bible. So the first key to achieving a balanced mind is a willingness to be directed and guided by the Bible. It was once stated that men reasoned and men reasoned well. Not so when it comes to spiritual matters! Mark Twain said that religion is a very dangerous thing unless you get it right. Today Christian beliefs are so diverse that they vary from the original Truth given by God to the absolute bizarre. Too many rely on human understanding. They refuse to accept the plain Bible instruction: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments . . . ” (Ps. 111:10). From the beginning men have believed they knew better than God, so what do they need Him for?
The Apostle Paul wrote:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. (Rom.1:18-22)
The result has been a world full of vain deceits. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col. 2:8). All this is a result of human minds that are not balanced spiritually. What does the Bible say about human reasoning? “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down [reasonings], and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
A good example of human reasoning is the theory of evolution. In the name of “science,” it is one of the most outlandish concepts foisted off on a gullible world. This view has no spiritual values. It cannot answer the questions of why we were born, and what life is all about. It is absolutely void of any aesthetic merit. Men do not yet realize that these godless, atheistic views are of human origin, based on arrogance.
The Bible tells us:
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa. 55:6-9)
Our guide must become God’s Word, not the philosophical and religious concepts of the world. Then, and only then can we have the balance and understanding to discern what is wrong with this world and how to achieve the personal happiness we truly want. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). Jesus said, ” . . . thy word is truth” (John 17:17). He made this promise: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). So, the first key to a balanced mind is a willingness to accept the Bible as one’s guide and authority over his life.
Keep Eyes on
Trunk of the Tree
One with spiritual balance does not allow himself to become sidetracked. Those who are unbalanced often become that way because they are obsessed with the twigs and branches, not with the trunk of the tree. They become too involved with technicalities. They forget the foundational principles and soon become carried about with every wind of doctrine.
God gave a true ministry to prevent this:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. (Eph. 4:11-14)
The unbalanced are, as Paul stated: “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Because they seem unable to keep focused on the trunk of the tree, they waste their own time and the time of others. Paul warned: ” . . . Avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain” (Titus 3:9).
When Paul referred to those who do these things, he wrote: “He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1 Tim. 6:4-5). One should not waste time with such people. Paul instructed Timothy: “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes” (2 Tim. 2:23). “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7).
What are the really important issues? They are doctrinal matters that involve salvation. These do not include technical questions of one type or another, questions the Bible does not specifically address-such as: “What is the mark of Cain?” “Did Solomon and Judas commit the unpardonable sin?” “How many will be lost and how many will be saved?” Paul said the foundational doctrines are: (1) repentance from dead works, (2) faith toward God, (3) the doctrine of baptisms, (4) the laying on of hands, (5) the resurrection of the dead, and (6) eternal judgment. See Hebrews 6:1-2. Perhaps Jesus’ statement in Matthew 23:23 summarizes it quite well: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
A Balanced Mind
Evaluates Itself Often
Schemes advocated by men to solve the world’s problems are based on the idea that they will work. They will not work because they overlook the truth about human nature. As such, they are not balanced. A balanced mind is realistic and recognizes that the truth of any matter is objective. Unfortunately truth or realism to many is what they think it is, not what the facts actually are. A reality of life is that all human beings have human nature. The Bible does not paint a pretty picture of human nature. Many disregard or ignore the evil in their own natures. As long as men refuse to admit this fact, the world’s problems, as well as their personal problems, will never be solved. Men have been deceived into thinking they are far more capable than they really are. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).
Jesus did not minimize what the Bible says about man’s nature: ” . . . He said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:20-22).
Here is how the Apostle Paul described his own nature. It depicts the nature of all human beings.
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Rom. 7:14-24)
Realism means facing the facts for what they are. Man must recognize that his nature is his own worst enemy. An occasional self-evaluation can bring about the balance in understanding that so many people lack, though it can sometimes be painful. When we see ourselves for what we really are, we realize that we are nothing in the eyes of God. It is unrealistic to maintain a high opinion of oneself. All human beings have faults and do sin (Rom. 3:23). There is always a need for repentance (1 John 2:1). “Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Prov.16:19). “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Cor. 8:2). “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” (Gal. 6:3).
When God is ready, the world’s problems will be solved. For the present He is allowing men to learn the consequences of going their own way. There is no contest between God and Satan. Satan is allowed to do only what God permits. The arrogance and vanity of men will be of no avail when God manifests His power.
Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low . . . . And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. (Isa. 2:10-12, 17-19)
A Balanced Mind
Is Not Easily Upset
Many people become upset over the most trivial matters. Insults can often lead to wars. The degree to which one controls his anger is a mark of maturity. Maturity is a mark of balance. One who keeps his attention on the really important issues, who does not become entangled in the branches and twigs of life, is much more likely to have peace of mind. Those who become distracted are easily offended. A balanced mind is emotionally mature.
A good example of maturity is that of Jesus Christ. Though He was about 33 when He died, many incidents that could have been offensive were overlooked by Him. An event recorded in Matthew 8 illustrates this. Jesus had just cast a legion of demons out of a man and sent them into a herd of swine. The swine immediately rushed into the sea and were drowned. What was the reaction of the people? “And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matt. 8:33-34). Did Jesus take offense at this reaction? Of course not! He knew they did not really understand or appreciate what He had done. His mind was on the important issues of life, not those things that are petty and minor.
Another example can be seen in Matthew 9:1-7. Because Jesus had said He had the power to forgive sins, the Jewish religious leaders accused Him of blasphemy. He simply ignored their accusation and went on His way. How many times have we been tempted to withdraw from an activity because of criticism? Jesus did not think the way we do. He simply ignored their lack of understanding and continued His mission. We see this time and time again by His example. In Matthew 12:10-15, a situation arose on the Sabbath. Jesus saw a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees tried to trap Him because, in their view, to heal on the Sabbath was work. Jesus addressed their question by exposing their hypocrisy. He then went ahead and healed the man.
Jesus demonstrated His maturity when told about the death of John the Baptist. The account is recorded in Matthew 14:1-13. When Jesus was informed, we read: ” . . . He departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities” (v. 13). He obviously wanted time to pray and meditate. But this did not deter His work. We read in the next verse: “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.”
The above example illustrates the need to keep focused, to become mature in our thinking and reactions. We are striving for spiritual perfection. Paul wrote that we are to come ” . . . unto a [mature] man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). We can all profit by the example Jesus set. He was perfection in the flesh, yet He said He could accomplish nothing without the help of the Father (John 14:10). Likewise we can do nothing without His help. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). With God’s help we can come to true spiritual maturity, and like Jesus, we will not be offended by insignificant things.
A Balanced Mind Strives
Patiently for Perfection
Man was placed on this earth to become a member of God’s family. Life is an experience of learning in order to overcome the influence of society and pulls of the flesh. This requires building character. Character is the ability to discern right from wrong and to always choose the right in opposition to the wrong. We do not have the right to decide right and wrong. God defined these centuries ago. As free moral agents, our right is to decide to follow the right in opposition to the wrong. We must make the choice. Building character is a life long task. The balanced mind patiently strives for perfection. The Apostle Paul emphasized: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).
The mind must be renewed-changed from the carnal mind to the mind of Christ. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2). The character building process is likened to a long-distance race. The Apostle Paul wrote: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (Heb. 12:1). One with a balanced mind patiently strives for perfection.
In this human life we will have setbacks. These should not be viewed with discouragement. They should serve as an impetus to compel us to go forward with more determination. Our calling and the understanding we have been given is a tremendous blessing from God. Few are given it at this time. Who is the balanced man? The Bible tells us: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole [totality] of man” (Eccl. 12:13).