Lynda Graybeal, administrator of Renovare (www.renovare.org) suggests we need a “balanced vision” of 6 streams or dimensions of the Christian life (Conversations, Vol 3:1, p. 52). Though I was reared in one particular stream, I have dipped my toes in each of these tributaries and found grace in each of them. All make up the body of Christ. All have partial truth. All can learn from the others.
Contemplative – The prayer-filled life
Holiness – The virtuous life
Charismatic – The Spirit-empowered life
Social Justice – The compassionate life
Evangelical – The Word-centered life
Incarnational – The sacramental life
Which stream refreshes you the most? Which one challenges you?
As I read the Scriptures, I find I can only chew on one small portion at a time. When I’m studying faith in Hebrews 11, it’s hard to focus on I Corinthians 13 and love. When I’m reading the Psalms, I’m focused on praise and thanksgiving. I have to trust that whatever bite I’m chewing on at the time is what my soul needs.
Sometimes my soul needs water because I’m thirsty (“as the deer panteth for the water”). Sometimes it enjoys dessert (the mountaintop experiences in life). But other times, a sip of bitter coffee (admitting I’m wrong) offsets the sweetness of forgiveness. Meat and starch for energy. I need it all . . . but I can only take (and enjoy) one bite at a time.
And so I lay aside the guilt that says I’m not praising enough, or I’m lingering too long over the coffee. I need balance. And I can trust God to bring into my life whatever He has planned for me to help me grow in my walk with Him.