Excerpt from Deep-Rooted in Christ

Send the Roots Deep

Balance can be difficult, but it is essential to the deep-rooted life. The best example of the harmony we need is Jesus himself. In him we see perfect balance between emptiness and fullness, between relinquishing and filling. He kept an ideal balance between self-abandonment and exaltation, between serving others and being served by others.

We shouldn’t overemphasize either emptiness or fullness. We need a healthy balance between the two. Here’s an example. If we leave home too often, we become wanderers. Our lives become unstable. But if we focus on staying put, we get stuck in our ways. Neither extreme is healthy.

The same is true in our spiritual lives. We may enjoy the coolness and sweetness of a meditative pool, but we may stagnate if we stay there too long. Flowing water doesn’t stagnate, nor does the active side of spiritual life. It’s steady and strong, but may cause erosion. Extremes are what we must watch out for.

Jesus enjoyed his solitude, but he was also at home in a crowd. He was balanced. The time that he spent alone prepared him for the times he spent with people. In the same way, his time in the crowds prepared him for the refreshment of solitude.

Emptying and filling, that was the rhythm of Jesus’ life, and so it should be ours. In a very real sense the Christian life is like a pitcher; it’s not something in which to store blessings up; it’s a vessel out of which to pour blessings from.

This is how it should be with us. But when we don’t share with others, our lives decline. Yes, filling has just one purpose: sharing. Jesus’ life was filled to overflowing so that it could be shared with others.

Jesus’ life wasn’t like the Dead Sea, a stagnant lake where even fish can’t survive. His life was like the Sea of Galilee that empties into the Jordan, teeming with life.

The heart of Jesus is like that Sea of Galilee. Our lives can be the same: filled with satisfaction and joy. The joy comes when we share as Jesus did. Joy flows in us when we pour out what God has given us.

Isaiah’s prophecies showed the Messiah as both a flowing stream and a great rock (Isaiah 32:2). How can one person be both rock and stream? These poetic comparisons in Scripture suggest the harmony and balance in the way Jesus lived.

The life of Jesus was like flowing water, descending from higher ground. This flowing water heads downstream, fulfilling its destiny, finding its way, till it empties at last into the ocean.

That way of flowing was the Jesus way of living, not fighting or competing but submitting to what his Father asked of him. Yes, his life ended on the cross — to gain the world’s salvation. But look at the whole story.

Jesus is also like a rock: unshakable. He didn’t waver. When Satan tempted him, he didn’t give in. In every challenge he went ahead to the destiny the Father had prepared for him.

On the one hand, he’s living water. On the other hand, he’s solid rock. To be both rock and water is to live in harmony and balance, as Jesus did…

Jesus offers to us the same sort of balance and harmony. When we’re willing to engage in the disciplines of the spiritual life, this balance can be ours. Balance is all-important when it comes to serving God. It’s what God wants for us.

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Excerpted from Deep-Rooted in Christ by Joshua Choonmin Kang. © 2007 by Joshua Choonmin Kang. Used by Permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL, 60515 – 1426.