NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: 1 Peter 2:1-17
— What does the concept of balance as a Christian discipline call to mind?
— In what realms of the Christian life would you say a believer needs to be balanced? Why?
— In what realm would you say believers most struggle to maintain balance? Explain. In what realm do you most need balance?
Food for thought:
Here’s a question for you: What do a high wire artist, a sweet and salty snack, and Agur son of Jakeh have in common? Give up? They all depend on balance.
Whether the performer is walking the tightrope under the big top at the circus, or crossing some dizzying and death-defying height across Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, or between skyscrapers, the performer’s livelihood and certainly life require a heightened and honed sense of balance.
Whatever prop the performer might employ –- pole, chair, wheelbarrow or something else — none substitutes for the person’s own balance.
Many people love a snack of nuts, chips, pretzels or some other salty goodie combined with soda. There is something about the balancing, off-setting palate qualities of the sweet and salty that reverberates throughout the taste buds.
Agur son a Jakeh prayed for balance as well. His words we find in Proverbs 30:8-9: “Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me. Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need. Otherwise, I might have too much and deny you, saying, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God.”
In the MasterWork study session of John Stott’s The Radical Disciple, Stott identifies balance as one of the lesser-discussed traits of an uncompromising follower of Jesus. Much like sweet and salty, Stott pulls from 1 Peter 2:1-17 three couplets of duties given to believers. People tend to emphasize one at the expense of the other.
Stott contends that the radical disciple, one who pursues wholehearted discipleship, will strive for balance between individual discipleship and corporate fellowship, between worship and work, and between pilgrimage toward holiness and living as one who is already of the heavenly, holy Kingdom.
Stott concludes, “Nearly all our failures stem from the ease with which we forget our comprehensive identity as disciples.”
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.