In 'Well Balanced part 3', we took a deeper look at the three elements that nurture the growth of faith. What I would like to look at today is what can happen if they are not kept in balance. Fellowship, Worship, and Discipleship are as necessary to the life of faith as sun, water, and soil are to the life of any living plant. But, just as the natural elements each pose a specific threat if taken to an extreme, so the spiritual elements will do the same thing.
When fellowship becomes the unbalanced focus of the Christian life, it takes the focus off of Christ and places it on the individual and their circle of friends. This is obviously not what the Christian life is meant to be. This is where the 'us four and no more' mentality is very prevalent. We get so focused on fellowshiping with fellow Christians, and spending time together, that we think that we are the focus of the Christian life. We get lulled into a false sense of holiness and become standoff-ish and judgemental. It is the heart of worship and the discipline of discipleship that keeps this danger in check.
When worship becomes the unbalanced focus of the Christian life, it takes the focus off of Christ and places it on the experience or emotion of worshiping, not the person whom we worship. This is a very difficult line for some to see, but the reality is that worship is not meant for us. We are to give glory and praise to God because of who He is and what He's done, not how it makes us feel. Yes, true worship is an emotional experience, but it's not the emotion that makes the experience. Especially in charismatic and pentecostal circles, this line is very blurry if it's there at all. True worship should be born out of heart of humility, not experiential emotion. It is the community of fellowship and the discipline of discipleship that keeps this danger in check.
When discipleship becomes the unbalanced focus of the Christian life, it takes the focus off of Christ and places it on legalistic rules. This is the sad reality that many Christians are faced with. A system of judgemental rules and guidelines that are supposed to make you more 'holy' or 'righteous' but in reality just make you tired and afraid. Jesus did not teach from a legalistic standpoint. The pharisees did... to them the only way to please God was through legalism. But Jesus came to bring freedom. I do not believe that then have the freedom to do anything. We must live in the freedom of Christ. That is the freedom to live for Him, to be like Him, and to reveal Him. Our actions, choices, and lifestyle should reflect a desire to love and serve Jesus, not exemplify a life of servitude to a legalistic law that was abolished on Calvary. It is the community of fellowship and the true heart of worship that keeps this danger in check.
Too much or too little of any of the elements of growth will result in abnormal growth at best, and death if not properly addressed. Do you tend to lean towards one of the elements? Make a conscious choice to involve yourself in the other two to create balance and hopefully spur on some spiritual growth.
- Just a thought.