Living in God’s wisdom for our lives involves learning the art of balance. Life is full of tension, and wisdom shows us how to balance these areas of tension in a way that leads to thriving.
Conversely, when we are not thriving—when our lives start to break down with anxiety, depression, relational dysfunction, burnout, fatigue, illness, addiction, etc.—then we can be sure that it is because we are not balancing these areas of tension well.
One of the most critical tensions we wrestle with as Christians is living both as citizens of the kingdom of God and citizens of a world that has yet to become fully restored to God’s original design: on Earth as it is in heaven.
When believers live in this tension wisely, it produces Christ-like transformation, first in us personally, and then through us in the world. When we don’t, classically two things happen: we either become like the world, or we attempt to distance ourselves from the world in some kind of separate religious culture.
When I consider the wisdom gaps I see in many Christians, specifically in their attitudes and approach to their work, jobs, and career, I believe these gaps are rooted in their inability to balance this tension well.
Much of the wisdom I see in people is expressed in their ability to live and work in both realities with consistency, grace, and integrity. I would argue that ability is grounded primarily in two things: a good, biblical theology of work, and good discernment about where American work culture aligns with truth and where it distorts the truth.
The fact that we see so many Christians—ourselves included—pulled in these two directions speaks to how difficult it is to balance this tension. It’s easier to go with the flow of the world or try to create our own safe place where everyone believes what we believe. It’s much harder to live and work in a culture with opposite values, beliefs, and behaviors.
It’s harder to bravely allow Jesus to send us out as “sheep in the midst of wolves” and learn how to “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” than it is to simply stay away from the wolves or be consumed by them (Matthew 10:16, NKJV). It’s hard to balance the tension of loving the world like Jesus (see John 3:16) and yet not loving the world (see 1 John 2:15). But taking this hard path is the only way to the thriving, free, abundant life Jesus has for us.
In my new book, Shortcuts, I talk more about the art of balance! The book is available TODAY, and you can find it by clicking here!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic as well, how do you balance the tension of living in the world and not being of it?