Watching the news has become too much like watching reality television — a lot of drama with little substance — out of balance. I don’t like reality television. The problem with this is that watching can be addictive. Too much of anything can destroy your spirit. What does Jesus teach us about the value of living a balanced life?
Jesus and the Balanced Life
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10b).
Jesus lived what seemed to be a perfectly balanced life. He understood who he was, where he came from, and what he had to do. He was focused on God’s plan for his life and rarely if ever, distracted from the mission.
That’s not easy to do. It’s a thing of beauty when you see it. And it certainly doesn’t happen accidentally. What was Jesus’ secret?
Jesus in Three Dimensions
Jesus was strategic in the way he spent his time. He had a sense that his time on earth was short and he wanted to pour everything he had into the work God had for him.
To that end, Jesus consistently lived in three spaces. These were literal, physical spaces, but represented something deeper.
The three dimensions where Jesus lived were: the mountain, the wilderness, and the village.
Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself” (John 6:15).
The mountain was the place where Jesus encountered God. It was the space where he reached up to feel the presence of God, and most clearly hear the voice of God.
Jesus went up the mountain when he felt vulnerable or hard-pressed or simply exhausted. His time on the mountain recharged him and inspired him.
The mountain was the place where Jesus felt closest to God. He made his most important decisions on the mountain. He spoke his most important words on the mountain. He poured his heart and life out to God on the mountain.
The mountain is the space where we encounter the living God. It’s where we worship him, speak to him, hear his voice, and discern his will for our lives. On the mountain, we feel most alive and feel the strength of God’s love, justice, and mercy.
The mountain is also where we learn the deeper ways of the Spirit Life. It is the place where worship, confession, prayer, and meditation nourish us. It is the space where the Fruits of the Spirit come alive inside of us.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness …” (Luke 4:1).
The wilderness was the place where Jesus wrestled with his own character and identity. It was the place where he reached in to explore the hidden recesses of his heart – the place where he was most vulnerable. It was his place of deep self-awareness.
Jesus went into the wilderness to be tested. Every sage spent time pushing the limits of his own character – his own internal fortitude. This testing was a time of cleansing through ruthless introspection. It was the place where he fought his private battles with temptation. It was a place where he discovered what he was really made of.
The wilderness is the space where we become self-aware. It is the place where we connect what we know about God with what we know about ourselves and about the world we live in. It is the place where we battle with sin and temptation, idolatry and trust. It is the place where our character is tested – where our faith is forged.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness” (Matt. 9:35).
The village was the place where Jesus invested in the community. In the village, he called and taught his disciples. In the village, he healed the sick and embraced the outcast. In the village, he revealed the awe and wonder of God through signs and miracles.
He confronted the powers of systemic oppression, in the village. He fought for those who had no voice. In the village, he ate, played and celebrated with those he loved. In the village, he died. In the village, he conquered death.
The village is the space that teaches us how to lead and how to follow — how to confront and how to forgive. The village teaches us how to be selfless. We learn how to mentor each other and serve each other in the village. In short, it is the place where we live out our faith.
The village is the place where we learn and grow. We learn how to be in a relationship with each other. We learn about intimacy and acceptance and forgiveness. In the village, we find healing and strength for living.
In the village, we learn that we are all the same and that being together makes us stronger and braver, and more beautiful.
How are you doing in living your life in three-dimensions?