It can be a real challenge to consistently achieve the right balance in life. Wisely dividing our time between work life and home life, personal development and the development of dependents, or physical needs and mental needs—to name just a few of the common dilemmas we face daily—rarely happens by default. Balance is something that has to be struck.
Whether or not we ever succeed in striking a perfect balance in all that we think or do, cultural history affirms that, to enjoy a successful life, we at least need to be working toward it. In the ancient Greek world the value of balance was widely recognized. Aristotle advocated the idea of a middle way between excess and deficiency, which would later come to be known as the Golden Mean. Prior to Aristotle, Plato advised finding the right measures of elements to achieve a positive outcome; Socrates likewise urged avoidance of extremes in favor of the mean. At Delphi, one of the epithets written on the temple was "Nothing in excess." For the ancient Greeks, the idea of balance was intrinsically linked to conceptions of beauty and truth, summed up by the Romantic poet John Keats as “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”
Of course, the value of balance is not acknowledged in Western culture alone. The idea can be found all over the world, from Buddhism and Confucianism to Rabbinic literature, Christianity, and within the pages of the Qur’an.
Although many cultures recognize the need for balance, identifying that middle way has always been somewhat subjective. Who really knows where the true middle way is to be found?
Many acknowledge that the Bible advocates balance, perhaps considering the statement attributed to Solomon that “to everything there is a season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1–8). In fact, balance is part of the very nature of Scripture and is crucial to understanding it. Each verse needs to be considered in light of all Scripture, as point and counterpoint are woven together to form the fabric of sound doctrine, or the whole truth. But where does the balance at the heart of Scripture originate?
The life of Jesus Christ exemplifies perfect balance in action. However, in contrast to our world’s cultures, which decide for themselves where the point of balance lies, He said, “I can do nothing on my own.” The balance that Jesus Christ exemplified did not come from self-determination. Rather, it came from prayerfully seeking the will of God. This is, in fact, why Christ could say, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30).