Kilter

The iPhone SDK comes with a sample application that allows your iPhone to be used as a level.  You can find the app in the App Store through iTunes and download it for free.  It is not wholly practical to use, since the iPhone itself doesn’t have a flat edge to balance on, but it’s fun nonetheless.  I’ve always found levels to be kind of interesting anyway.  Getting that little bubble to line up feels kind of good, like you’ve accomplished something.  It’s satisfying.  “There, I’ve achieved perfect balance!”  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use a level on every situation in life?

“Balance in everything” is a principle I strive toward.  It hit home for me a long time ago, while reading this passage:

“Do not be overrighteous,
neither be overwise—
why destroy yourself?

Do not be overwicked,
and do not be a fool—
why die before your time?

It is good to grasp the one
and not let go of the other.
The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.”

Ecclesiastes 7:16-18

I would say balance is not easily achieved.  With everything life throws at us, we’re constantly being thrown off-kilter.  The world is extreme.  We are often extreme in our own thoughts and in how we feel.

My Dad always said, “Too much of a good thing can kill you.”  It’s easy to fathom how bad things can harm us, but any extreme of man tends to miss the mark.  God is the only one pure enough to go as far as he wants in any direction without failing.

When we’re young, we run after extremes.  We kind of like the rush.  As we age, that feeling changes.  We start feeling queasy when we ride that roller coaster.  This can lead to an opposite extreme where we refuse to take chances or allow change at all.  In that case, we become monotonous, uninspired, and shrinking.  Growth at any age is life.  A life out of balance becomes either a runaway train or a vehicle with a dead battery, pulled off the road in the middle of nowhere.

One of the chief benefits of a relationship with God is that he helps us achieve kilter.  He sees the whole picture, knows all the facts, understands what’s happened and what is going to happen.  Where we are blind or misled, God sees clearly.  He leads us through the extremes of this world by counteracting its foolishness.  That’s why scripture says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

God also pushes us when we are stuck in a rut.  We can easily give up and abandon ourselves to decay, but he always wants what’s best for us.  We can always trust him for the right path.

This is a difficult life.  For my part, I’m not capable of grasping it all.  I’m pretty thankful for hindsight though.  It’s been nice to find God is there for me through all the challenges.  When I get off-kilter, I look back to him and he leads me out of the chaos.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  He calms my anxious heart.  That’s a very practical benefit.  “Lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  God is the best moderator.  God is balanced.  We’re not.

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