SPIRITUAL BALANCE AND RADICALITY
© Carlos Padilla – November 2022
The Law of Gravity, correctly formulated by Albert Einstein, in his Theory of General Relativity, and the rest of laws of the universe, are a reflection that a powerful mind has developed an intelligent design that provides those laws, impossible to originate from chance, and that provide a radical balance to the cosmos. God’s creation shows a surprising balance for the human mind. Also the life of the Christian can be reflected in a series of actions, works, fruits, I mean, in a way of life that must emanate the balance of an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ – Yahshua, for it is He, the model to follow by anyone who wants to be His disciple, what the Bible calls, the Law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). To achieve that spiritual balance that will provide us an affable character, and the gentleness of which talk Jesus and his apostles, first it is necessary a radical change by repentance metanoia in Biblical Greek, which means mind change or of thinking and of way of living. The Protestant Reformation was also a radical change to return to the balance of the Biblical faith, from the unbalance in which by tradition and abuse of power, Catholics had fallen. Those changes are the ones that achieve that those who are born again, can follow a series of spiritual laws, taking the example of the universe, which are similar to the laws of faith, and to the prophecies of God in The Bible, all, without exception, fulfilled or to be fulfilled, being the last one which we await, the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ – Yahshua in His eternal Kingdom (Revelation 1:7). But let us go deeper in the spiritual balance and radicality in our relationship with God and with our neighbour.
SPIRITUAL BALANCE AND RADICALITY IN DAILY LIFE
Nowadays it is frequent to see messages about how to live a balanced life. In the Spanish speaking world, influenced by the Anglicism proceeding from the US, the most popular word is “balanced” from the English word. However, in Spanish, he world balanced takes us to think of something that moves from one side to the other, like a cradle, when you move it to sleep the baby. So in the original Spanish of this study I use the word equilibrium, therefore, to expose my thesis. To achieve a balanced or equilibrated life, in daily life, from the spiritual source of God, it is necessary that first there have been a change of thinking, of life, or mind, a radical change. At the beginning I referred to the Greek word metanoia, which The Bible uses in the original Greek to refer to repentance. Without that change of mind or repentance which metanoia means, which is a radical way of life, and is what the Lord Jesus asks, the spiritual balance is not possible, nor of life. That is how radical God asks us, as well as the Lord Jesus taught Nicodemus, that erudite amongst the Jews: “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”, John 3:3.
From this new birth of the Holy Spirit, Who comes to live in our inner temple of the soul, the fruit of the Spirit is produced: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law”. Galatians 5.
Balance in the love, to God first, and to the neighbour as to our selves, as the Lord Jesus answered regarding which was the principal and most important Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40). And to the Disciples said: “That you love one another; as I have loved you… and …By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”, (John 13:34-35). This love is the one that fills us with joy and peace of Christ.
Balance in prayer, perseverant and trusting God: “steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12), not one day praying a lot and then days without prayer, and that prayer comes from the heart, in spirit. Radically steadfast determined in prayer. From this patience and faith grow, which provide us goodness and gentleness for the difficult challenges, the control of the character and humility.
Balance in good deeds, placing first charity in your own family, then in the neighbour, like that we are balanced at the time that radically we do what is possible to help the needed, and in presenting the Gospel which changes his life forever. “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” (2 Corinthians 9:9). To serve the neighbour in good deeds, first we have received the love of God, and this one gave us mercy, together with two other fruits of the Spirit, goodness and kindness.
Balance when doing justice, for which we must take the following into account: “For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God”, (James 1:20). “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace”, (James 3:18). “…Whoever does not practice righteousness and does not love his brother, is not of God”, (1 John 3:10). The conclusion is that righteousness is not by the Law, but by the faith in Christ, (Galatians 3:21). After the fruits of the Spirit, the spiritual balance has taught us that God is radical towards righteousness, but that righteousness is only balanced when God applies it.
Lastly, our being, even being able to be radical in many aspects, needs a balance. Like the apostle Paul teaches, it is made of three parts: spirit, soul, and body. These three must be in balance. If we dedicate too much to the body and not attend the mind and the spirit, we suffer unbalance. Many, today, are obsessed with the care of the body and health, and this second is essential, but do not attend their spirit and their life of faith, which makes it idolatry and egocentrism. In the same way if we only look to our feelings of the soul, and do not care for the body. But the spirit is the key, but again, if we only care for about our spiritual enrichment, we may become isolated from the rest. There our mind plays a great part, for if we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), we can maintain an emotional and spiritual balance, without so much influence of the chaotic world in which we live. Today we suffer a wave of depression in the world, especially in the western society, where the increase of cases amongst the youth, especially in the post covid period, is frightening. To that, in addition society is decadent in values and spends life in the virtual world, has relationships in social media, and forgets the relationships present, and we are not made for isolation, but for coexistence.
Living in a balanced way in all the facets of live allows us to know when to make punctual exceptions, efforts, battles, and when to be radical. Some eat all things, and all make difference between foods (Romans 14), some drink wine without excess, others prohibit it to themselves because the loose control. Some rich live a simple life and others cannot reach the end of the month to live like rich. The self control that we see in the seven steps of spiritual growth, which are seven spiritual gifts, including faith, from the radicality of doing, which is virtue, is only possible with spiritual balance. Read Virtue and the 7 Gifts of God.
SPIRITUAL BALANCE AND RADICALITY, IN THE CHURCH
Without doubt, two Biblical Texts as reference in the relationship between Christians are, Psalm 133, which describes how good and how pleasant it is for the brethren dwell together and in unity, and John 13:34-35, that teaches to love one another, and by that they will know we are disciples of Jesus. For this relationship which seems logical and balanced for a Christian, there needs to be radical conviction to work for unity in the relationship amongst brothers, like in the family, for not with all is easy, due to the difference in character and personality. But, the unity of the spirit must take us to the same mind, the mind of Christ, and the same feeling, like the apostle Peter teaches, (1 Peter 3:8-14).
For years, I have seen how some brothers and sisters work hard in serving at the church, which is something normal for a Christian, but some do not have a balance between the life inside and the life outside. I mean that they look inside, and live trying to ignore the life outside the church. Other brothers live in the opposite way, looking at how to serve outside the church, but do not look to the church itself. I think we must all seek the balance, for the brethren that are in the church are the family in Christ, there are others outside, which must be called to be part of it. That balance, again comes from the radical inner transformation of the faith, and for praying for it, so that the Lord places in our heart to be conscious of the need to give testimony of Christ outside, serve the community in good deeds, outside, and serve the brothers inside, to be part of the family, and we know that the perfect family does not exist, only God is perfect. About those who serve outside, we must support the missionaries, for although they go far, they depend on those who stay, in support and prayer, because they are called to go and serve God far, a radical call which depends of the spiritual balance and of their relationship with Christ and the Church.
BALANCE AND RADICALITY IN THEOLOGY
How many theological discussions amongst Christians, and how many really are for spiritual growth! The radicals appear convinced of their theology, but many seek balance, but looking to the result, and the change of thought of many great theologians in less relevant aspects of some doctrines which are not related to salvation, like are the matter of gifts or eschatology, one should question:
To what level are gifts active today? God is the same yesterday, today and forever, for His name is YHWH, and said to Moses: “I am Who I am”, (Exodus 3:14-16). The same as, the Alpha and the Omega, Who is, Who was, and Who is to come (Revelation 1:8), and His power is the same always, and there are miracles always happening wherever He wants, where they love Him, where they seek Him in heart. But the gifts are no present anymore as they were in the apostles and in some prophets. We must believe that God is the same today, yesterday and forever, and that His power is always the same, and can do miracles always; this is radically correct in the mind of the believer. But we still see disputes between those who teach and say they do miracles and healings, and others who deny any miracle, both in their radicality, and non in balance with the truth of God. Therefore let us pray for miracles and have faith, because God does miracles today, even though no one has the gift permanently.
Eschatology is, maybe, the one that creates the strongest argumentative battles, and the curious thing is that we use the same Book of Books: The Bible. Dispensationalists and Covenant Theologians, pretribulational milenialists and amillienial postribulationists have been defending their positions radically for centuries. I have seen great doctors in theology change their positions in these matters and however they are still great doctors in the faith and theology in the basic doctrines of Salvation and discipleship, their balance originates in that they do not condemn the brother who in eschatological matters believes different, over all because they have been in both sides, and where convinced each time, but God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6-8).
That grace that God gives the humble that seek His justice and truth, could provide a radical change in his theology to the Catholic monk Martin Luther, who had to confront the Vatican for placing again the spiritual life in the balance of the Bible, which he translated to German from the original tongs, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, concluding that “the just will live by faith” (Galatians 3:11). He could come out of the deviation and unbalance of the tradition and the abuse of power, and denounce the selling of indulgences. This year we celebrate the 505 anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a 31st of October, in that case, of 1517, Luther nailed his 95 Thesis on the door of the Church of the Castle of Wittenberg, Germany, to protest against the falsehood of the indulgences and its use to obtain funds, even from the poor, with the target of building the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican. The Catholic Church reacted with the Counter Reformation, which we could say, was initiated after the Council of Trent, in 1545-1563, as a reaction of the reformation movement, and their radicality to impose their faith by force or kill those who would not accept it, through the instrument of the “Holy” Inquisition; these methods of imposing the faith are unbalanced because they do not proceed from the love of God, and that type of radicality, is not “Holy” but evil and will be judged in the judgment seat of Christ. We must be radical in our faith and conviction, but must be balanced in the love for the neighbour and preach them, and give them good example in good deeds, for the true faith comes by hearing, and hearing, by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Jesus lived in a humble way and preached in the more radical and powerful way, but He never imposed the faith by force, which is the balance to follow to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). The “Grace” of God is the one that gives us balance to carry out the Great Commission, the one that took Luther to initiate the radical movement to return to the Word of God, that took the reformed believers to use and get to comply with the years the Creed of the Five Solas: Scripture alone, Faith alone, Grace alone, Christ alone and glory to God alone. That is that Grace of the Hymn “Amazing Grace”, a radical and balanced grace for the heart of man, because it comes from the heart of God, who loved us.
WHY SPIRITUAL RADICALITY?
As we have seen along this brief journey through the concepts of spiritual balance and radicality, we find out that sometimes we must be radical, to not accept to be lukewarm, with false prophets or false masters, ideologies, other gospels, the persecution to death, like the Inquisition did killing the saints of God, and how Jesus teaches us to be balanced. Jesus being the holy balance spoke in a spiritual radical way:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me”, (Matthew 10:34-40). This radicality that Jesus teaches us, is the spiritual balance; the question is knowing the difference and for this we will pray to the Father, in Christ, through the Spirit.
The etymology of radical comes from the Latin radicalis, which comes from radix or radicis, which means: that relative to the root of something. In our context we refer to concentrate and focus in the root and the origin, the truth, the purpose of something, and that thing of ours is the Gospel of Jesus Christ – Yahshua, the love of God, and the good deeds, in this we will be radical; that is our true spiritual balance.
We have learned that for spiritual balance to exist, fist there must have been spiritual radicality. After repentance, that balance in the mind and of radical life, it is achievable, through the work of the Holy Spirit, to follow and know the truth, without giving in, no matter the cost, because truth shall set us free, if we remain in His Word (John 8:31-32). Also self control and all the stairs of the 7 spiritual gifts of which the apostle Peter tells (2 Peter 1): “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”
Therefore we must conclude that spiritual radicality must not be understood as physical violence which religious fanatics use to impose their religion by force, and kill in the name of God, or those who want to impose their ideologies by force and create laws to their like when they are in power. One and others will be judged by God and will pay before the judgment seat of Christ, in His coming (Romans 14:10-12) – (2 Corinthians 5:10). Our faith is holy and we know that the Good News of the Gospel of Salvation has the power to radically change the lives of those who are called by the Grace of God, when they hear the Message, and that is our conviction and determination in the truth of God, which is offered to others for love to them, and that freely can and must receive it if they are called to believe and accept Jesus Christ – Yahshua in their hearts. Amen!