Words of Worth

Joy IN the World

December 17, 2010

Have you ever noticed how easy it is for life to get “out of balance”?

Recently my daughter and a friend of hers began taking a gymnastics class at a local gym. Now, I don’t think either of the girls is destined for the Olympics but they look adorable in their sparkly suits and they think it’s great fun. As I watched them through the window one night, I reflected on how much my spiritual life is like an exercise conducted on the balance beam. It takes constant attention and alignment (and re-alignment) to stay focused and make sure my feet and heart are steady. It seems so simple: Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first His kingdom…” but do I? As a general rule, yes. But sometimes my heart and mind are drawn to other places. It’s interesting that the word “seek” in this verse can also be translated as “crave”. So, what it actually suggests here is that first and foremost we should have a craving for God.

Some of the girls in my daughter’s gymnastics class are more advanced than others and I noticed that these girls, when perched atop the beam, never look down at that narrow four-inch plank. Their eyes are fixed straight ahead and often there is a look of fierce determination on their faces. Perhaps I could even go so far as to suggest that they crave staying balanced. But even the more experienced students fall sometimes and when that happens the coach who is standing to the side watching and guiding, encourages them to climb back on the apparatus again and re-establish their footing on that oh-so-narrow beam. It takes a lot of practice.

Perhaps today you feel like you’ve lost your footing. Maybe your heart slipped a little and you’ve lost a bit of your joy. It’s easy to do even during the season of “Joy to the World” – maybe even a littler easier because we have distractions on every side. Remember, like that good coach who is ready at the first waver to lend assistance, you have the Comforter, ready to steady you back into place.

Maybe you need to pray a simple prayer to regain your balance today. “Dear Lord, Today as I find myself out of balance and subsequently out-of-place, would You reset my heart and narrow my focus? Back up on the beam, Lord, help me to set my gaze straight ahead, steady my feet, strengthen my resolve, and always, Lord, help me to seek – to crave – You first. Only then will I experience Your true joy – the Joy you sent to save the World.”

Seeking more? Spend some time with Psalm 73. Notice some of the things that caused the psalmist’s foot to slip. At verse 16, his perspective begins to shift. Focus on what caused this. Finally as you read verses 25-28, praise God that He is your strength and delight in His nearness to you. (CT)

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