Avoiding Extremes

“Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise—why destroy yourself?
 Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool—why die before your time?
 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.
 Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.” [Ecclesiastes 7:16-18 NIV]

I find this verse very interesting. We have seen that God requires us to be holy as He is holy (see Leviticus 19:2), yet this verse seems to tell us not to try too hard. In the New Testament we are exhorted to aim for perfection. Jesus set the standard high when He said that keeping anger in our hearts was akin to murder, among other things. But, this verse tells us to avoid extremes. So then, is this a contradiction?

I don’t think so. Rather it is a reminder for us to not get caught under condemnation, to remember the grace of our Lord Jesus. Yes, we must do our best to be righteous and holy, but not to the point that it destroys us with fear of hellfire and brimstone.

It is a warning against legalism, a habit that humankind seem so easily to fall into. ‘If I don’t do this, the Lord will not accept me.’ Or, ‘this is happening to me because I failed.’ This kind of thinking binds us into slavery to works and will just wear us out with our trying.

We need to live in the freedom that grace provides. When we do fail, know that God loves us still. When we make mistakes, He is not waiting to punish us, but to show us a new way forward, to learn and grow from it.

Do you ever find yourself trying too hard, putting pressure on yourself to perform for His acceptance?

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Published in: on 26th June, 2012 at 10:00 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think putting pressure on ourselves is one of the ways we lose our joy and fall into the pit of inadequacy. I know it’s something I have to work hard at side stepping. I love your reminder that God provides grace. His way of balancing us when we’ve fallen off kilter. 🙂
    Blessings
    xx

    • So true. I used to do it all the time. It’s easy to live under the delusion that the harder we try the more He will love us. We don’t have to do a single thing to earn His love – He loves us because we breathe. ♥♥♥


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