The longer I live, the more I realize how easily a routine can become a rut and how quickly priorities can become obsessions. Last week we examined the grind of laziness and discovered ways to avoid becoming a sluggard. But the decision to make work a priority and be diligent in our responsibilities can carry us to extremes: our industriousness can become workaholism.
In terms of diet, we monitor what we eat and how much, and doctors recommend we work up a good sweat on a regular basis. Some, however, take health consciousness to such lengths that they suffer from eating disorders. Some women work out so much that their female hormones shut down, and some men feel the need to inject themselves with muscle-building compounds that cause cancer. These are examples of good things—concern about eating and exercising wisely—made bad by taking them to extremes.
In the same way, I’ve seen Christians take spiritual disciplines to such extremes that they all but withdrew from normal public life. They take Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing” literally and spend hours in private meditation and accomplish very little else. They study Scripture so long and so deeply that they have little opportunity to live out what they have learned. They attend every church service, participate in every church program, and never miss a single church event—and their children feel ignored and their marriage partner is neglected. Again, good things made bad when we fail to find an appropriate balance.
I see imbalance and extremes all around me, and sometimes—to my own embarrassment—in myself. A major prayer of mine as I grow older is “Lord, keep me balanced!”
From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Featuring books for your permanent bookshelf from Charles R. Swindoll: Life Is 10% What Happens to You and 90% How You React - softcover book, and Growing Deep in the Christian Life: Essential Truths for Becoming Strong in the Faith.