At the dawn of a new year one has a tendency to make resolutions and set goals. These resolutions or goals seem to always focus on an aspect of our life that we felt like we were lacking in during the previous year. We may place a spotlight on one part of our lives with the hope that one thing will bring about the enrichment of our lives as a whole. This is not a bad thing. Often a goal in one branch of our life does bring growth in others, but it can also leave us shortsighted and un-balanced. It can be like a body-builder who only trains their upper body. In the end you get the massive arms with chicken legs. I believe when we strive for balance in all aspects of our lives we truly begin to see amazing results. This is especially true in our relationship with God and his church. We each have a unique gifting but when we focus solely on that we cease to grow in other areas. We lose sight of God’s entire perfect vision for his church and we break it down into smaller departments and pieces. We can miss the forest for the trees.
In the very early stages of my coming to know Christ it became very easy to inadvertently define the process by focusing on certain things that I needed to do in order to become a good follower. I needed to pray more, stop doing certain things, read my bible as much as I could. And while these are good things on the surface they missed the true meaning of knowing Jesus. The why aspect was very vaguely understood but never completely grasped. These are the things that a Christian does so this is what I must do to know God. A Christian spends time in prayer and reads their bible. They help others and tell them about Jesus. Some day they eventually go on a mission trip. Looking back, it was a very compartmental, extremely basic surface level understanding of what a Christian is. Later thanks to the grace of God I gave myself to Christ and the faint surface level understanding began to fade away. This new living relationship put the pieces together. All of these conditions were pieces of the whole. The understanding came from knowing that I was loved so much by God that he gave his only son. That I could walk with God because I had been reconciled through Jesus. That missions, prayer and bible study weren’t simply departments within the church but an all-encompassing relationship with our creator.
Paul speaks of this exact reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:17-19.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold the new has come.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave
us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ
God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses
against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
The message, vision and hope of the church is within these lines. God the father has propitiated us through Christ. Our relationship with Christ is a blessing of reconciliation that becomes our mission to the world. It is our way of life. The small pieces of the whole come together and begin to fit together supporting each other. We no longer simply look at different aspects of our relationship with Christ we see the relationship as a whole.
This follows in our church life as well. We no longer only focus on the separate aspects of the church but we see it as a whole. Each piece fitting together supporting each other to reflect God’s message of reconciliation to the world. We find our balance not in looking at the pieces, but in looking at the whole.