Most people, if asked, would say that they like everything in their life to be in perfect equilibrium, perfect balance. Losing balance physically is the prelude to a fall. Balance tends to be valued, not only in the physical sense, but also in the emotional, spiritual, and mental sense. To become mentally or emotionally “unbalanced” is a euphemism for mental illness or distress.
Believing is leaning – Perfect equilibrium or balance is seldom to be found in the human person, but perhaps that is good, especially in the spiritual life. The spiritual life is really about leaning.
Equilibrium is overrated – Equilibrium may have its place in our physical bodies, but even there we must sometimes intentionally throw off our balance in order to make progress or for some other purpose. Let’s examine the act of walking. When I am standing still I am at equilibrium; I am balanced. But I am also getting nowhere. If I want to get somewhere, I have to walk. Now walking involves leaning and imbalance. When I walk, I lean and begin falling forward. I then catch myself with my foot before I fall. And the process continues: lean, fall, catch; lean, fall, catch. Only in this way can I walk and get somewhere. So equilibrium has its place, but sometimes it gets in the way of progress.
Consider walking, then, as an image for spiritual growth. We progress in the spiritual life not merely by “standing still” with the familiar and the easily understood, but also by “leaning forward” into the unknown and mysterious. As we do so, we are confident that God is true and reliable, and will uphold us if we lean forward on Him and on what He teaches.
This last point is important, because God’s teaching gives us a kind of range within which to lean; it does not invite us to reckless abandonment of His truth and teaching. If we do this, we lean too far and fall—fall into sin. But within the range He gives us, God leads us forward in the walk of faith.
All of us prefer the balance of the familiar and the easily understood. When we are balanced, we feel that we are in control. But true spiritual growth is a journey. A journey requires walking, and walking requires some “imbalance” and trust. In simple physical walking we “catch” ourselves; walking is a self-controlled fall. But in spiritual walking, it is God who catches us and who is in control. Do you want to get to Heaven? Do you want to journey home? Then you have to walk. Lean, trust, and keep saying “Amen!”
Dance! In this video, I wonder if you might consider a very elaborate form of walking that we call “dancing.” Now traditional dancing requires an enormous amount of leaning and, especially for the woman, a lot of trust as she allows the man to lead her. She must lean into his moves and follow his direction. In this video, the great Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance marvelously. But as you watch this, think of the Lord Jesus leading His bride the Church in a great dance of faith. Consider the trust that is necessary for the Church and for us as individuals as God leads us in the great walk, the great dance that is faith. Only by leaning, trusting, and following will our dance ever be “graceful.” In the final dance move, Fred and Ginger leap over the rail of the dance floor and swirl through the doors. So, too, will we. If we as members of the Bride of Christ will but trust Him, follow His lead, and lean in the great walk, the great dance of faith, we, too, will leap off the dance floor one day and go through the gates of Heaven.
Enjoy this video. It shows Fred and Ginger at their finest. And as you watch, keep in mind the spiritual image.