“Balance” is an underrated, and oftentimes underappreciated concept in our daily lives. This is mostly due to the fact that until it is absent, we have no inclination to acknowledge or appreciate its presence. I was recently made to do both. Just a few days ago our dryer started spinning uncontrollably loud, and it shook the whole machine. Interestingly while the heating element seemed to still be functional along with all other components, the dryer itself was out of whack to the point that my clothes just weren’t as dry as they should’ve been. The machine operated so poorly that I was certain we probably needed a new one. Once my husband, Airion, opened it he found something interesting. The dryer’s drum was off balance because we had been loading it with so many clothes that we literally misaligned this component with the rest of the machine. As a result of this misalignment, it could not function as the manufacturer had intended. Just like this scenario, the addition of “things” in our lives can often create dysfunction if we don’t have the proper balance. We cannot function the way God designed us to either if we do not have the balance he intended for us to have. We feel this discomfort, (similar to my dissatisfaction with the dryer) this feeling that something isn’t quite right. But just like I needed Airion to take a look on the inside and rebalance some things, we need Jesus to not only rebalance things but to be at the center of all things.
Jesus Is At The Center
We find that life will always feel off balance when we make Jesus a part of the whole, and not the center of the whole part. The proximity we need to Jesus is well illustrated by the crowd-mentality in Mark 5:21-24, “There at the lakeside a large crowd gathered around him. Jairus threw himself down at his feet and begged him earnestly, ‘My little daughter is very sick. Please come and place your hands on her, so that she will get well and live!’ Then Jesus went with him. So many people were going along with Jesus that they were crowding him from every side.” We can infer that crowds are a great thing to follow and be a part of when Jesus is at the center. Unfortunately, some of us often have the inclination to make ourselves the center of the crowd for varying reasons. For some of us, this looks like pride, for others, this is a need for control. Additionally, when at the center, we find that we can’t maintain the crowd of people that were following Jesus, and we will undoubtedly attract a new crowd that may enhance our struggles, coddle our sins, and encourage our selfish desires. The pride that encourages us to maintain our position in the center will certainly cause us great harm. Proverbs 16:18 warns us, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” While in the center, we know we don’t belong there because every time tribulation comes our way, we desperately look to the outskirts for the God that we’ve misplaced. When we humble ourselves, and relinquish our need for control, we can experience the comfort of Jesus at the center. Romans 11:36 reminds us, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” With the truth in focus, we allow the only person truly capable of leading the crowd to take his rightful place, relieving ourselves of a position we were never called to in the first place. With Christ in the center, we go when he says go, and stay wherever he is. In doing this, there is the feeling of complete balance that we would otherwise completely miss.
Join The Crowd That Follows Christ
Being a part of the crowd means exactly that, we are a part of the whole. We are not called to be outliers or occasional bystanders or human chameleons who change colors at just the right time so that we can blend in for the sake of our brokenness going undetected. So many of us like the crowd, and enjoy it occasionally but refuse to commit. Even with our verbal profession of who Christ is, we could still find ourselves like so many in the new testament who received his miraculous power, and yet did not turn around and commit to following him. When we expect his power without submitting to his leadership, we trade relational intimacy for a divine transaction. Since we come to the crowd occasionally in times of distress we’ve made it clear that we do not worship his lordship and therefore we make an idol of his miraculous power. We desire all the things he offers without desiring him at all. In reality, in order to experience the fullness of Christ’s power in our lives, we must be in the crowd and stay in the crowd. Mark 5:27-29 illustrates the power made available to the woman with the issue of blood by her entering the crowd, “She had heard about Jesus, so she came in the crowd behind him, saying to herself, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will get well.’ She touched his cloak, and her bleeding stopped at once; and she had the feeling inside of herself that she was healed of her trouble.” This woman recognized that being a part of the crowd at that moment, was the difference between her healing, and staying sick and ultimately it was the difference between life and death. Being a part of the crowd means that no matter if we are in the highs or the lows of life, we are close enough to celebrate with Christ, or be made whole by him.
The Crowd Celebrates Together
One of the common mistakes we make as Christians is that we get so wrapped up in what God hasn’t done yet, that we forget to celebrate what he’s already done. Even more, its often hard to celebrate what others have received from God if we are still waiting for our own blessing. We see the tension this could create in Mark 5:35, “While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” I can imagine Jairus standing there speechless after watching the power he needed for his daughter, be released to the unclean woman, only to learn that in that exact time frame, his daughter was now dead. Jesus tells Jairus in Mark 5:26, “Do not fear, only believe.” This is the perfect illustration of what it means to celebrate with others because celebrating with others requires both humility and faith. What if the test of faith for Jairus wasn’t his daughter being sick, what if the truest test of faith was the “wait” between what he asked God for, and when he actually received it from God? For us, we too can throw ourselves at his feet when we have a need but are we still at his feet when he moved for someone else before he moved for us? God being at the center of the crowd means that not only do I trust and celebrate God for what he hasn’t done for me, but I’m going to wait and praise him for what I see him doing for you in the meantime. The Christ-centered crowd is crucial because there’s the constant reminder from one person’s blessings to the next that God IS moving, even if I feel like it’s not necessarily happening for me right now. If we are truly to be a part of the crowd, then one person’s celebration is everyone’s celebration. When Jesus is the center, we can’t help but celebrate every miracle because we can’t help but celebrate him!
How Do We Stay Connected?
To be committed to the Christ-centered crowd, there are several ways we can initiate and maintain this in our lives:
1. Getting consistent and staying consistent with church attendance is imperative.
It’s hard to connect to God’s people if we neglect their presence. Hebrews 10:24-25 states, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Connecting to each other through gatherings, corporate worship and prayer is important for Godly relationships and especially edification.
2. It’s important that we use discernment to say no to good things, in order that we can say yes to God things.
There are plenty of distractions in this world and though they are not inherently sinful, they become sin when we prioritize them over our relationship with God. If something hinders our relationship with Jesus, the answer should always be ‘no.’ It’s not always easy to discern these matters alone, nor should we have to.
3. We need to prioritize and connect to authentic community through TC Groups.
That is why TC Groups is the perfect place to not only enrich our lives with the proper crowds of people, but to also have the support systems we need to experience healing and real transformation in our lives. The more of Godly people in our crowd, the better. Additionally, sometimes we need people to point us to our purpose because often times people can recognize our God-given gifts even when we don’t. In finding and connecting to our gifts, we access the life that God intended for us, a life that counts for something because it glorifies him. When we live life with ourselves at the center of the crowd, we can never expect to find true, Godly fulfillment. Everything is at its best, and our purpose is found when we connect to the crowd that has Jesus at the center. It is here that we achieve the perfect balance of relational intimacy, direction, access to his miraculous power, and Christ-centered celebration.