"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper and be in health, just as your soul prospers." 3 John 2
How are you doing? Does your life ever feel a little out of balance? Have things been out of sorts for you lately? Chances are you’d see some real positive change if you were able to introduce a little balance in your life. That’s one of the reasons that today’s text has always been one of my favorites, because it speaks of balance.
Of all the things the Apostle John could be praying about for his friends, he prayed that they would have a healthy balance. He desired that they prospered in every area of their lives—spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. So, what does it mean to prosper in these areas? Well, the word “prosper” just means, “to have a successful journey.” I like to define a successful journey as one that gets you to where you want to go. It’s as simple as that.
So let’s look at these areas and see how we’re doing:
A balanced life, spiritually, is one where you are comfortable in your spiritual skin. You know who you are in Christ. Your faith isn’t a great theory but it actually changes how you approach life’s challenges and opportunities. You are growing in your relationship with the Lord. You are spending time reading the Bible, time in prayer and you are active in your local church. Faith in Jesus Christ isn’t expressed once a week on a Sunday morning for an hour or two; it’s expressed throughout your life in lots of different ways. That’s balance.
It seems like a lot of us need to look no further than this one to get ourselves back into balance. Many of us push too hard for too long and wonder why we’re exhausted or burned out. Eating right, exercising, getting a proper amount of rest are not an option, or a ‘someday’ thing. They are important disciplines that we need to incorporate into our everyday lives. But don’t go crazy and declare a fast, trying to lose a ton of weight in 21 days, when really all you need to do is cut out desserts and snacks and slowly watch your weight get to where you want it. Don’t try to go run a marathon when you really should just go for a walk after dinner every night. Ever tried to start an exercise program and way overdo it to the point you can hardly get out of bed the next day? I have. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and the BENGAY. Do you get the picture? Just eat a little less, exercise a little more, and get to bed earlier. That’s balan ce.
We live in an age where learning about anything is just a click or two away. There is just so much to learn and so many ways to stimulate our thinking. If we’re ever going to be balanced then we have got to always be growing mentally. What have you been reading lately? What have you been studying and learning about? Have things gotten a little stale in the part of you that sits between your ears—your brain? I know that science teaches us that we are losing brain cells everyday but the Bible says that we have the mind of Christ. And no matter how many cells we lose, we’ll have plenty to use for a lifetime – that is, if we’ll use them. Do you know that you can exercise your brain? Sure, it’s called thinking. Just like weights can build and strengthen your biceps; thinking will build and strengthen your brain. So study, think and work your brain. Come on baby, there’s more to life than the History Channel. Maybe it’s time to go back and finish your degree, learn a new language, take up a new hobby? Whatever you choose, work yourself and exercise your brain. You’re never too old to learn something new. That’s balance.
This is probably one of the biggest things that get us out of balance. In Proverbs 23:7 it says, “…as he thinks in his heart so is he.” Man is it ever important to think right, because what we think about will control our emotions. I don’t know about you but I would rather be happy than sad. I’d rather be up than down, stress free than stressed out. I love what the Apostle Paul told King Agrippa in Acts 26:2, “I think myself happy….” Here’s a guy in a heap of trouble and he controls his emotions by thinking himself happy. That’s some pretty good advice.
So, what are you doing to fill up your joy tank? Are you setting aside some time to hang out with good friends and to laugh a little? Are you tapping into the peace of God that passes all understanding? If you aren’t, then why aren’t you? Find stuff to do that brings you emotional satisfaction. For me it’s riding motorcycles…must be why I have to always clean the bugs off my teeth. Now that’s balance.
I pray today that you find the balance you need to have a successful journey spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. That’s a balanced life.