1. The Challenge: keeping balance in our lives. It’s HARD, especially in our culture!!!
a. It’s not a head issue, IT’S A HEART ISSUE!!! What are we allowing our hearts to be ruled by and captured by? Is it Jesus? Or something else? What do we focus on daily? This is very personal, only you can know the answer to this.
b. We need to have fun and be happy. We have to find joy in our lives. We need adventure. We have to take care of our hearts so we have the physical, emotional, and spiritual energy to lead our families! If we are not happy, centered on Christ, and fed we cannot be our best.
c. Satan and the world work together with our flesh to distract us from having healthy balance and to focus on other things, causing us to place our personal relationship with God, our wives, and our brothers lower and lower on our priority list.
d. Lies from the world target our flesh, “Your personal comfort is #1” “You deserve…” “You have to be able to do it all” “You’re a failure if you don’t achieve…” “My marriage should be…” “This will make me feel…”
e. Priorities: We have to keep our priorities straight to be in balance! It’s so easy to lose focus. There is a constant barrage of lies coming at us, to distract us from Jesus and those around us. The lies are subtle, but once we start believing them, we chase after desires that trap our hearts and ask us to reorganize our priorities.
f. When we “buy in” to lies completely, we will take it too far in our flesh, we lose our priorities, and we lose our balance, and we will lose sight of Him in the mix. Suddenly it’s “all about me” and what I want and I’m focused on my own stuff and not even including God. Luke 21:34-35 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth.”
Here Luke is obviously saying we will all struggle with this.
i. These might include: money, job, wife, worrying about the future, other relationships, materialism, use of time, and use of other resources.
g. In their right place plans, dreams, motivators and desires are a good thing and should be a part of your priorities and balanced in. We need to listen to God and find the joy He has for us! He wants us to be happy, enjoy life and have fun!!! This will play out differently for each of us, as we are each individuals with many variables.
h. We need to be happy and grateful!!! That type of attitude allows us to see clearly.
i. When we are out of balance we are straining to find life, contentedness, and fulfillment from these distractions/lies that will never satisfy; instead of finding life in our relationship with our Father.
j. This is the tension we all live in, but take heart! James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
k. So the challenge is, how do you balance your relationships with God, your wife, and your friends while balancing work, your resources (time, $, energy) and your own personal desires/need for happiness and joy???
2. The Answer: BATTLE FOR BALANCE!!! Go to your three links of support! We need to spend with each as part of our balance and pursuit of joy!!!
3. Link #1 God: He has all the answers and He is the answer. He needs to be priority #1! Pray, pray for His will to be known to you. Seek Him and His will for your life, when we trust in Him and keep Him at the center of everything we do, our balance will naturally fall into place. Remember His promise, John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
a. Be refreshed in Him. Pay attention to what makes you happy; create time to do the things God has provided for you to enjoy!!!
b. Proverbs 19:20-21 “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the lord’s purpose that prevails.”
c. Seeking His will takes time. You need to devote time to seeking Him through the word and in prayer. He will bless your commitment and effort! Matthew 13:16 “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
d. Fight for your JOY! Joy he has for you! Life can be tough, but God designed so much beauty for us, we just have to be open enough to slow down and see it. We need to be looking every day for the places that Jesus is loving on us and saying hello. Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
e. Pay attention!!! He is at work around you constantly. God speaks to us through prayer, His word, the Holy Spirit, circumstance, and the people of God (the Church). Romans 12:11-12 “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”
f. Focus on His priorities outlined in the word. Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
i. Notice, He focuses on the HEART first, it’s such a heart issue with us. Where our heart is, so lay our priorities and our balance.
ii. This is literally where we, the 3:18 Men of Freedom, developed the three links of support from. The areas in our lives that need the most attention, we should be fighting hardest for, and keeping in the highest priority.
iii. We are including wife in the definition of “neighbor” because neighbor is anyone whom you interact with or re surrounded by, and obviously she is a big part of every man’s life as we made vows to her before God. We “leave and cleave” and develop “oneness” with her as designed by God.
iv. Simply put, I think balance involves joy at all levels. Finding joy in our relationships; staying close to God, your wife, your brothers, and finding Joy through the rest of the things you like to do!
4. Link #2 Wife:
a. Communicate your heart to her. Include her on building godly balance with you! Develop the oneness God has designed for you and your wife to experience.
b. Share desires you have! There is nothing wrong with having things we want and thinking about how to get them. It’s all about keep balance of what’s most important first and not moving things out of order!
c. Gut Check time! How are you doing with communication and your wife?
i. Are you helping her develop her loving relationship with Jesus?
ii. How are you doing with the “four things for your wife” from the beginning of this whole Unleashed journey? 1. Remind her 2. Pursue her
3. Give her time 4. Have a common adventure
5. Link #3 Brothers:
a. Be known, talk it out with your brothers, share your strengths and victories, as well as your struggles and failures.
b. Relate! I guarantee your buddies may wrestle with balance issues as you may be.
c. Get advice from each other. Godly counsel from men is a great way to learn from each other and grow!!!
6. Questions to ponder:
a. How well do you know your own heart?
b. What motivates your decisions about balancing your resources?
c. What areas in your life do you feel you do a great job prioritizing and balancing?
d. What areas in your life do you have a hard time keeping balance?
e. How well do you communicate with God about priorities and balance?
f. How well do you communicate with your wife about priorities and balance?
g. How often do you utilize your brothers to share and relate about triumphs and struggles?
Guys, don’t go through this life alone. Go to Jesus with this stuff! See what the Father has in store for your life. Stay open with your wife; let her in to who you are, what your motivation is, and what your dreams are. Seek guidance from your brothers, be known, share and relate!!!
For the extended version with further details, personal stories and testimony, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org as tell us you want the extended version and to be added to our e-mail list.
3:18 Men of Freedom
Facebook: 3:18 Men of Freedom