Growing up I had the greatest time climbing in this shade tree in the front yard. I’d do all sorts of things up there. I’d play house with my sister or read a good book or just hide in the branches so the people coming by couldn’t see me. I suppose if you stayed in the tree long enough you could get really good at balancing on those branches. But no matter how much fun you’re having, somewhere in the back of your mind there would always be the fear of falling. I guess the trick is keeping your balance.
Life can be a balancing act. Each of us live each day just trying to get things done but some people have things that make their life more of a balancing act. In addition to coping with the normal stress in life you may also be struggling with wanting too much of something in your life like food or alcohol or shopping or prescriptions. As you go through your day picking up the groceries and pumping gas in the car, a part of your brain is working to figure out how to work another drink, another shopping trip or another pill into your day without anyone else knowing.
Maybe your balancing act is not about excessive things but about excessive thoughts. Maybe your drive into work is filled with thoughts of worry, for things beyond your control or does your mind fill with the harsh stuff like bitterness, jealousy and anger? Whether it’s excessive things or excessive thoughts, dealing with these burdens plus the regular chores of living your life can be quite a balancing act. The problem is that like climbing trees, after you do it for a while you lose the fear of falling. And if you’re not afraid of falling, how bad can it really be?
The apostle Paul was worried about people thinking they had it all under control when they really didn’t. In 1 Corinthians 10:12 he said “… if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” You see battling temptation is hard enough when you see it coming but how do you battle something you’re busy ignoring? It’s like living your life balancing on tree limbs. You can do it for a while but at some point, odds are, you’re going to fall. How? by hurting yourself or someone you love.
What gets in the way of us seeing the temptations in our lives? We cover them up with thoughts like “I’m not that bad. I know people that shop more, eat more, and live with more jealousy or anger than I ever have.” OR “I know I shouldn’t live with this bitterness or drinking “thing” but it’s not affecting my work or my family.” OR “This is just not that bad– certainly nothing God would be upset with.”
The worst thing you can do is think you’re standing firm when really the branch beneath your feet is starting to crack. Let God’s word show you how to plant your feet firmly on the ground. Believe me it’s much better than waiting to hear the branch suddenly crack.