“Moderation” vs. True Peace

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (Rom. 12.18)

I am tired of hearing from Christians about “balance”, as if it were better to strike out on a way intermediate between God’s ways and the ways of the world. That’s a manifestation of lukewarmness if there ever was one.

I know I have my blind spots, and so does everyone else, but still it discourages me sometimes about the willingness of the church to seek to obey God out of love for Him, without reservation. When it comes to certain things some ordinarily very diligent and faithful believers who certainly love God want to shrink back from relentless obedience to Him in that area. It seems to me, therefore, that we often read the cultural thermometer more than we read God’s living and active truth.

Whether it’s management of finances or priorities or “dating” or view of poverty or treatment of people afflicted by homosexuality, it doesn’t matter what it is: there’s no escaping the need to try to view things through God’s eyes and let the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts, for us to come to desire what He desires. We can’t take ourselves (individually and as contemporary society) so seriously as to effectively shun God from our hearts and then go on to call it “balance” or even “wisdom”, as if we have a better idea of what that is than God does. It’s hypocritical, and unfortunately it’s also everywhere.

The Zhuangzi stresses in the 山木 chapter (c. 20) that it is no good trying to avoid extremes in order to avoid suffering a bad outcome. Zhuangzi says that he would choose this way, but then he explains,

材與不材之間,似之而非也,故未免乎累。
[The position] between usefulness and uselessness appears to be it, but it isn’t, and so it has never been spared from entanglement.

This also sheds light on our views of “balance”. Harmony is not avoidance of so-called extremes but accord with what God’s natural order is.

What this signifies for us is that nothing God commands ever needs to be “balanced” against what the world says for generation of a synthesis. There is never a time to even consider God on the same order as the myriad other things. God is not subject to synthesis, nor compromise, nor even comparison. Nay, He is the vast, unmeasured, boundless Maker of heaven and earth, and so all creation is on His terms, intrinsically so and not just superficially or incidentally.

Harmony is thus intrinsically, not just inherently, defined as measured by God’s character, not by the pursuit of an artificial “middle way”. So there is such a thing as harmony, balance, Dao, but people call things what they aren’t. It’s often immensely frustrating to see followers of Christ short-changing their discipleship in Christ by refusing the full and unmitigated application of God’s word to us.

The only reason we view God’s nature and so His commands and promises as so revolutionary and crazy is that we ourselves are the ones in constant rebellion against the truth, against the ways of God, against all good itself. And God is pleased to display through His church the futility of man’s striving without Him. To hell with false ideas of moderation (pun intended). What we need, what we all need, is reformation of our hearts (the essences of our being), our soul (the way we feel about things) and our minds (the world view we espouse) into love of God and so also of our neighbour.

There is a saying around Facebook: “Jesus is not my homeboy, He is God.” In the same way, God is not any kind of moderate (political or not), nor is He to be moderated, tied down, regulated by the stubbornness of our own past or current perdition: He is God.

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2 responses to ““Moderation” vs. True Peace

  1. Yes, and when we do receive revelation, we must obey, but not in a begrudging way! 😀

    Like

  2. “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Phl. 2.14–16)

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