Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Finding the Balance

Human beings follow different paths to try to deal with their world. Our initial reaction to the world is that something is wrong with it. Pain and suffering are rampant. (Some philosophies may try to prove this is normal, but it needs proof.) Also, we see something is wrong with ourselves. We have definite goals for our behavior, and we come short. (Again, this may be explained away, but it requires explanation.) What is the solution?

Some see the solution in reason. If we figure it out, we can solve our problems. This is an uncommon approach today, perhaps because we have sought and failed to find our answers here. But there are intellectuals who persevere in this. It results in thinking the human mind is the measure of all things and can solve our problems without God's help. While it is rare today, some understand Christianity in light of this. They hold to their own ideas rather than what God said.

An alternative approach is to seek answers in experience. This can range from following immediate impulses to looking for a deep mystical experience. This results in making our experiences the test for everything and finding God (or whatever we put in His place) inside ourselves. But if we depend on experience, we can never be sure if we are experiencing God, the devil, or our own psychological quirks. Also, experience is notoriously fickle; it can come and go or require more and more to produce it. Christians can get involved in this, too, and can build their faith on experience.

Another option is living by the rules. If we find the right rules and enforce them, it will solve our difficulties. These rules need not involve morality; some professedly non-moral people adhere to a strict code of behavior. This results in being self-sufficient and believing we do not need help from anyone, including God. The problem is we fail to keep even our own rules. Also, apart from reason or experience it is difficult to know which rules to enforce. Christians, too, can follow this approach, becoming self-righteous and independent.

The real solution is found in Scripture and ultimately in the cross. It is here we find truth which is beyond our limited human reason (1 Corinthians 3:18). We learn we are sinners (Romans 3:23), living in a world under a curse (Romans 8:19-23). We also learn that God has sent His Son to pay the price for sin (Ephesians 1:7) so that we might be saved by trusting in Him (Romans 4:4,5). Based on this we can begin to understand truth (John 17:17). We can also experience God's peace and joy, which are rooted in knowing about God and His love for us (Romans 14:17). We can live disciplined lives in light of the grace of God (Hebrews 5:14). All of these are kept in balance by Scripture and the cross, where grace and righteousness meet (Psalms 85:10). But trusting in ourselves is destructive.

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