Both AND, Not Either OR

Close up of funny overweight man workout in the gym

I’ve always struggled with my weight! It’s been a struggle since I was a kid, and I specifically remember when it started: It all began when I had my tonsils removed! You see, I was a skinny kid because I was always getting an infection and the doctors advised my parents to do what doctors advised many parents to do; take the boy’s tonsils out and he wont get sick as much, and they were right.

But the problem was when I g0t my tonsils out, I also discovered the pleasures of reading and watching TV! Boom! Welcome to the statistical world of American kids raised in the ’60’s and ’70’s! Thanks alot Captain Kangaroo!

Sure, part of it is genetics, but the reality is my struggle with my weight has EVERYTHING to do with the struggle for my soul, and the answer is always BALANCE, Sobriety, Wakefulness, and Attention! It’s the extremes of either indulgence or depravation that always gets me in trouble. When I try to starve myself, I lose weight then quickly gain it back (with a few more pounds added for good measure) and when I indulge myself I fall right back in that same trap again. It is the never-ending “hell” of my own fears and lack of balance. It’s the trick of thinking either/or rather than both/and!

It’s the same with our spiritual life, spiritual growth, and spiritual maturity. Balance is the key. Sobriety is the goal, and Wakefulness (or attention) is the path! It’s vacillating between periods of religious fervor and spiritual apathy that create the yo-you spiritual life that leaves me in a perpetual spiritual kindergarten, and that’s not what the Lord intended for us when He called us to Himself!

So, how do I break this destructive pattern of Either/Or? How do I move beyond the yo-you spiritual life to a healthy, mature Christian lifestyle? I have to learn to repent (metania). I have to learn to retrain my mind to stay awake to the balanced life of a sober Christian. I have to adopt the Both/And approach to BEING a Christian and not just talking about it. I have to become Mary, and leave behind my Martha-like ways!

Our Gospel Lesson gives us the insight we need to break the unhealthy patterns that keep us spiritually unhealthy. Read Luke 10:38-42, 11:27-28. It’s the familiar story of two sisters and their choices.

Jesus responds to a woman who is amazed at His teachings. It’s in His response we see our path out of an unhealthy spiritual life.

“…a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:27-28

It is BOTH Hearing AND Keeping the Word that makes for a blessed life. It is the Both/And of making yourself available to hear the Word and then moving beyond merely having the faith wash over you to actually practicing what you’ve heard. It’s both/and not either/or! This recipe for spiritual growth, progress, freedom, and joy simple cannot be tinkered with; it must be practiced. Just like a balanced diet of physical food and activity is necessary for a healthy body, so a balanced spiritual diet of purposefully exposing myself to God’s Word AND practicing His Word is necessary for a healthy spiritual life!

Today, is your spiritual life as healthy as your physical body? Are you approaching your spiritual maturity with a balanced “diet?” The regular and willful choice to BE in the services of the faith, read the scriptures, and hear the timeless wisdom of the faith coupled with the willful PRACTICE of what you hear is the KEY to a healthy spiritual life. Hearing AND Doing! Because one simply doesn’t work without the other.

Oh, by the way, did you know scientists have discovered the most balanced way to maintain a healthy body is by fasting two days a week on nonconsecutive days! Imagine that. 

P.S. Looking forward to THIS SUNDAY’S Faith Encouraged LIVE program on the Rapture. My special guest, Dr. Terry Hebert and I will confront the popular, but misinterpreted, idea of a secret rapture before the Second Coming of Christ. Listen this Sunday night at 8 PM Eastern on Ancient Faith Radio! Go to Faith Encouraged LIVE and listen this Sunday night! And Call in with your questions!

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