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Balancing Your Personal Life  -  Part 1 of 6


Rick Warren

Prov. 28:2 "A man of understanding and knowledge maintains order."

1 Cor. 14:32 "For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace."


Ecclesiastes 3:18 "There is a time for everything..."





       Most people tend to work on the _______________ areas of their lives and let the

       _______________ areas slide.

       As I "overexposed" and "underdeveloped"?

2 Results





       Jesus -- our example of perfect balance.  Luke 2:52

       The 5 Areas:

               1. ______________________________ Rom. 12:2

               2. ______________________________ 1 Cor. 6:19-20

               3. ______________________________ 2 Peter 3:18

               4. ______________________________ Gal. 5:22-23

               5. ______________________________ Rom. 12:16+18


       (in balancing your personal life)

       1. ____________________________________________ Prov. 14:8

       2. ____________________________________________ Eph. 5:15-16

       3. ____________________________________________ Col. 1:15-17


Balancing Your Personal Life  -  Part 1 of 6


Rick Warren

Luke 2.  This morning I want to briefly give you an introduction to the series we're going to be in for the next five weeks.  I'm calling this series, "Balancing Your Personal Life". 

All of the world is based on this principle of balance.  The principle of nature is that the world is perfectly balanced.  It is tilted at a certain angle and rotates at a certain number of miles per hour without any vibration.  If the world were a little bit closer to the sun we would burn up and if it were a few miles further away from the sun we would freeze to death.  The world is in balance.

In nature, the ecologists study the ecosystems where the food chain and the checks and balances in nature take care of each other.

In architecture, there's balance.  There's the balance within a  structure.  Engineers know that if a building isn't built right and the stress isn't balanced, it will collapse or a bridge will fall through. 

In your body, doctors say when you get sick, it is an imbalance in your body.  Health comes when your body is restored to balance.  The red and white corpuscles are balanced and your hormones are balanced.

All through your life, in everything we look at, it all focuses toward equilibrium -- the principle of balance.

God wants our personal lives to be balanced.  Proverbs 28:2 "A man of understanding and knowledge maintains order."  He has balance in his life.  1 Corinthians 14:32 "For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace."  God wants things to be in balance and equilibrium.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 "There is a time for everything..."  God wants us to live balanced lives.

There is a problem that I see all the time in people I counsel. Probably the most common problem I encounter is this problem of imbalance.  Imbalance is a disease that has many different symptoms, but the root is the same.  You can be imbalanced in anything.  Sleeping?  Yes.  Eating?  Yes.  Work?  Yes.  Play? Yes.  Everything.  You can be imbalanced in the way you use your time, in sex, in anything.  The problem is that most of us have a tendency to work on our public lives and let our private lives slide.  We work on how we look and how we smile and how we talk, but people don't see your private life, so you sometimes let that slide. 

I heard Howard Hendrix say one time that a lot of people's lives are like poor photographs:  over- exposed and underdeveloped.  I think that's true.  A lot of lives are overexposed.  Everybody sees us and knows us and we have contacts with a lot of people, but our private lives are underdeveloped. 

There are some problems when your personal life is not developed, not in balance.  Two things happen: 

       1.  Frustration 

When I was a kid, I used to watch these guys at circuses that would have poles they would try to balance dishes on.  I think the first time I ever saw it was on the old Ed Sullivan show. The guy would have tall skinny poles and a stack of dishes.  He'd start swirling the pole until he got the dish perfectly twirling and balanced.  Then he would take another pole and dish and start that.  Then another and another.  The problem was, that about the time he got down to number nine, number one started to fall off. So he'd run back real quick and get that one shaking... then he'd run back and start another, start shaking it...

I thought, “A lot of people live their lives that way”.  They go from this to that.  They work on this area of their life a little bit and then they stop and work on that area of their life a little bit.  Then another area.  It's frustrating.  Just about the time you get one thing in balance, the other one starts to fall off. 

Frustration is a result of imbalance in your personal life.

       2.  Fatigue

You get tired when your life is out of balance.  Anybody who's ever bought a car or a new set of tires know that when you buy new tires, you need to get them balanced.  If the tires on your car are not balanced, you're going to have a bumpy ride.  There are going to be vibrations.  The car doesn't handle the shocks and bumps so well. 

That's what happens in your own life.  If you get an imbalanced tire, eventually it will rub in the wrong place.  You get a bulge, a bald spot and it will blow out.  Likewise in your life, like tires that are imbalanced, you will get rubbed the wrong way and eventually blow out.  Tires blow out but people burn out because of imbalance.  Just like a tire that is out of balance wears the wrong way, when your life is imbalanced you wear out much quicker.  You get tired.

What does the Bible have to say about being balanced?  Does it have anything to say?  Yes.

Luke 2:52 we see an example of Jesus Christ.  Jesus was the most perfectly balanced person.  "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and favor with man."  Jesus Christ grew in these areas.  He grew in wisdom.  That means He grew intellectually.  He grew in stature.  That means He grew physically.  He grew in favor with God.  That means He developed spiritually.  He grew in favor with man.  That means He developed socially.  He was a perfect picture of balanced humanity.

During the next five weeks, we're going to look at some areas.  I want to give you an overview this morning.  Five areas of your personal life that you need to keep in balance.  We're going to take each one of these individually during this summer.  This is the summer to get your act together.  This is the summer to get your life in shape and get balanced in your personal life. We're not going to talk about your career.  We're not going to talk about your family.  We're going to talk about you, your own personal life, because if it gets out of balance, it affects everything else.


Romans 12:2 "Don't be conformed to this world..."  (Phillips translation:  "Don't let the world squeeze you in its mold.") "... but be transformed by..."  Your willpower?  No.  By working real hard?  No.  "... be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  What you think about affects your life and you need mental balance.  The Bible says "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."  We need balance.

How do you have balance?  You balance it by screening the things that come into your mind.  You just don't allow anything to come into your thought life indiscriminately.  You maintain balance by choosing what you're going to think about.  Jesus said, "When you know the truth, the truth will set you free."  When you fill your mind with truth, you will find freedom in your lifestyle. Freedom comes by having the right kind of thoughts.  True thoughts.  Mental balance.


1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Don't you know that you're bought with a price.  You're not your own.  Therefore glorify God in your body."  Do you glorify God in your body?  We need physical balance.  When we don't take care of our bodies, it affects everything else.  You have to ask yourself:  Am I constantly complaining about being tired?  "I'm so tired... I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired."  There's a way out.  You maintain physical balance.

Peanuts Cartoon:  Lucy is playing baseball.  She's running out into the outfield and saying, "I've got it!  I've got it!" and the ball flies over her head and plunks down right behind her. She's standing there with her hand open.  She throws the ball back to Charlie Brown who's standing on the mound and says, "Sorry about that, manager.  My body just doesn't seem to want to do what my brain tells it to."  Charlie Brown says, "I can understand that." In the last sentence he says, "My body and my brain haven't spoken to each other in years." 

Physical balance.  Getting your life in shape.  Getting it all together. 

Some of you say, "I could never get in shape.  I'm too old.  You can't teach an old dog new tricks."  I say, it's never too late to change! 

Article by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the man who invented aerobics.  He tells the story of a lady who was 46 years old and came to him. She had back pains that were so terrible that she could not walk further than 75 feet without having to sit down.  She was stooped over and couldn't stand up.  As a result, it killed all of her social life, all of her outings.  She was in constant pain and disability.  When she came to Dr. Cooper, he advised that she have back surgery but she said, no, she wanted to try something else.  She began to walk on a treadmill.  She found that when she put the treadmill at a certain angle she could walk without being in pain for about 25 seconds.  So she began to walk on the treadmill several times a day.  Soon she found she could lower the treadmill more and more until finally she was walking on a flat surface without any pain for the first time in months.  Next she started to do some slow jogging with her walking routine. Eventually she began jogging continuously from 3 miles to 5 miles to 10 miles at each outing.  Today, this 46 year old woman has run 9 marathons with her best time being 3 hours and 3 minutes, a great time for any woman or man of any age.  You can change if you want to. 


That's part of your personal life.  2 Peter 3:18 says "Grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." You do two things -- two ways you grow as a Christian:  You grow in grace and you grow in knowledge of Jesus Christ.  You have intellectual growth -- you know about the content of the Bible. You also grow in grace -- that's character, enjoying God. 

A lot of people grow in knowledge.  They know about God.  They know the books of the Bible.  They've memorized verses.  They know who Nebuchadnezzar is.  But they don't grow in grace. You've got to have balance in your spiritual life. 

In the session on spiritual balance, we're going to talk about four habits that you can develop that will revolutionalize your spiritual life, that will help you grow, help you understand more, help you trust God more and become more and more what God wants.

Mental balance -- your thinking.  What do you think about?  You need physical balance.  Do you do anything for your body or do you totally ignore it?  


Galatians 5:22-23 we have a picture of a perfect emotionally balanced person.  It says "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self- control."  Those nine qualities are the qualities of emotional stability.  When you're emotionally stable you're not blown away by a crisis. 

It's a picture of Jesus.  Jesus was love, joy, peace, patience... all those things wrapped up into one. 

Are you an emotionally balanced person?  Do you have a tendency to worry constantly?  Are you a moody person?  Do you let your moods go up and down?  Are you mastered by your moods rather than managing your moods?  Do you get depressed? 

I think emotional balance is a combination of confidence and contentment.  You're confident and contented and you are emotionally stable in your life.


I'm talking about your relationships.  You can have everything right in your life and if your relationships are lousy, life stinks.  You can be a millionaire, you can be popular, you can be well known and successful, but if you've got people that you're at odds with, life is tough.  So you need emotional balance, and you need social balance in your life.

Romans 12:16 "Live in harmony with one another."  I looked up the word "balance" in Webster's dictionary.  It says the definition is this, "When all of the parts are in harmony."  When all of your relationships are in harmony, there is social balance.  v. 18 "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everybody."  As far as it depends on you.  That's social balance.

I can't impress on you enough the importance of this balance. 

Article from Readers' Digest called "Seven Secrets of Peak Performance".  Dr. Charles Garfield is the professor of the University of California Medical School in San Francisco.  He's the head of a research institute called Peak Performance Center. They studied 1500 outstanding achievers in all walks of life -- business, athletics, education, every area of life.  They were looking for common denominators.  What is it that makes the difference between a person who's a super success and another person who tries their best but they just get mediocre results?  What's the difference?  Are there any characteristics, common denominators of peak performance people?

Yes, there are seven of them.  The number one characteristic of the top achievers in the world is that they lead a well-rounded life. They're balanced.  High achievers, we often hear, are extremists. They spend all their time on one thing.  Garfield says that's a misconception.  High performers, in contrast, are willing to work hard but within strict limits.  For them, work is not everything. When Garfield interviewed top executives in ten major industries he found that they knew how to relax, they could leave their work at the office, they prized close friends and family life, and they spent a healthy amount of time with their children and intimates.  They were balanced.

Another article from June, 1985 issue of Success magazine -- "Make Love Not War".  A doctor, for the past 26 years, studied 5000 professional men and women.  Since 1959, he interviewed these 5000 people at least twice a year.  He's written two books -- one about men and the other about women.  He talks about how women who sacrificed their personal life for a career are imbalanced.

       The interviewer says, "You say that ambitious women have been sold a bill of goods?  How?"

       Answer:  "They have been told that life is a choice between a career and a satisfying personal life, but my study over 26 years found that to be hogwash.  The woman who pours herself into her career and shelves her personal life eventually suffers in her career."

       The whole article talks about this principle of balance.  At the end the interviewer says, "Basically what you're saying is that anytime, any one part of your life becomes all important, everything, including that part, crumbles."

       Answer:  "That's an astonishing find in its own way because ever since we were children we've been told to concentrate single-mindedly and to keep ourselves focused."

Balanced living.  Balance in your personal life. 

How do you get started?  We'll talk about the specifics in the next five weeks.  Three suggestions out of the word of God on how to get started:

Proverbs 14:8 "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways but the folly of fools is deception."  Wise people think about where they're headed.  They give thought to their ways.  They consider where they're going.  Fools deceive themselves.  14:15 "A simple man believes anything but a prudent man gives thought to his steps."

How do you get started in balancing your life? 


Look at your life.  Say, "Where am I in balance?  Where am I out of balance?"  Look at yourself.  Evaluate it.  Do a self-examination.  Have a spiritual, mental, emotional check-up and evaluate your lifestyle.  Proverbs is saying it's wise to analyze.  Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living."  Edgar Guest wrote a poem called "Myself".  It went something like this: 

       I have to live with myself

       And so I want to be fit for myself to know. 

       I don't want to stand with the setting sun

       And hate myself for the things I've done.

How do you avoid that?  How do you avoid coming to the end of your life saying, "If only..."  Do it by stopping in the middle of life and analyzing it, looking at it, evaluating and saying, "Where am I out of balance?  What's missing?" 

Do you remember the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15.  The prodigal son went out and spent all of his money, had a good time with wine, women and song, but he ran out of his inheritance and ends up living in a pigsty eating pig food.  In Luke 15:17 there's the turning point in his life.  It says this:  "He came to his senses."  He said, "What am I doing here?  I'm going to go home."

Have you done that?  Have you come to your senses?  Have you said, "I'm not going to waste the rest of my life.  I'm going to make it count.  I'm going to get my life in balance."  This is the summer to get in balance -- socially, mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally -- all of these areas.  I challenge you, as homework this week, go home and do a personal check-up, an emotional mental check-up. 

Ask yourself:  "Mental balance.  Am I mentally sharper than I was five years ago?  If not, why not?  What am I going to do about it?"  I know a lot of Christians who are mentally flabby. They turn on the TV, put their mind in neutral and watch the boob tube.

How about physical balance?  "Am I always complaining of a lack of energy?"  And I'm always fatigued.  I pay no regard to what I eat or how I exercise or how much sleep I get.  I

disregard my physical condition totally.  Am I going to do anything about it?  Am I a workaholic or do I take time off for physical restoration? 

       How about spiritual balance?  Is my first reaction to a problem to pray, or do I usually use that as a last resort?  Do I take time for God?  Do I trust Him?  Do I really know Him?  Do I read the Bible on a regular basis?  Am I choosing to grow spiritually? 

       Emotional.  Do I worry a lot?  Am I a moody person?  Am I mastered by my moods?  Do I loose my temper at the slightest little thing?  Am I irritable?  Do I get depressed easily? 

       Social balance.  Who can I count on as a genuine friend? Who can count on me as a genuine friend? 

If you're really serious about getting your life in balance this summer, I encourage you to ask your mate to evaluate.  Now we're getting serious!  The fact is, all of us have blind spots.  I think I'm in balance.  You think you're in balance.  We all do. But other people say, "That guy is out of balance!" 

The Bible says there is safety and wisdom in a multitude of counselors.  So when in doubt, check it out.  Ask your spouse how you're doing -- emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally. Get a second opinion.


We plan every other area of our lives except our personal life. Balance does not come by accident.  You've got to work at it. It's not automatic.  You plan and set goals and say specifically what you're going to do. 

Ephesians 5:15 "Be very careful then how you live not as unwise but as wise."  Don't be foolish in the way you use your time.  Be careful.  Analyze it.  "Make the most of every opportunity."  How do you make the most of every opportunity?  By planning for it. By preparing for it.  When opportunity comes, you're ready for it.  You develop a plan of action. 

One of the things that makes balance in your life is habits.  We are creatures of habit.  In the next few weeks we're going to talk about, how you break bad habits, how you start new ones, because that's part of getting in balance -- getting rid of the bad habits and developing new ones. 

But you can't do it on your own.  Will power is not enough.  You need more. 


In the diagram, I put God right in the middle.  Just like a wheel has to have a hub, your life has to have something to center on. You will always be out of balance until you get something -- one thing -- that your life centers on.  You can center it on making money, but that will get you out of balance.  You can center it on retiring and recreation, but that will get you out of balance.

In a wheel, all the power comes through at the point of the hub and then it's distributed out to the spokes that turn the wheel. Likewise, in your life, when you put Christ in the center of your life, the power comes through that and goes out to all of these other areas and gives you balance.  That's why the Bible says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness..." and all of these things will be brought into focus, into balance.

I had a person come to me recently and say, "I have a problem. My life is falling apart."  How do you put a life that is falling apart back together?  What holds it together?  I asked the person, "Would you like to know the glue that would put your life together?"  

Colossians 1:15 talks about Jesus Christ.  "He is the image of the invisible God."  You don't see God.  That's why He sent Jesus to earth so you could see Him.  "... the firstborn over all creation.  For by Him all things are created, things in heaven and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things were created by Him and for Him.  He is before all things and in Him all things pull together."  

If your life is falling apart, it's because Jesus Christ is not at the center to hold all things together.  Put Him at the center and watch Him pull it back together.  Think about an atom with a nucleus of protons and neutrons swirling around and on the outside electrons swirling around it. What holds the atom together?  Jesus Christ.  He holds all things together in the world and in your life. 

The bottom line is in starting for balance, Jesus Christ wants to be the center of your life.  You can start over, you can have a new beginning, you can have a clean slate and this summer can be the summer that you get your personal life in balance.


       What are the benefits of being balanced in life?  They are innumerable.   If you get your personal life in balance, you will have more contentment.  You'll be more confident.  You will have fewer aches and pains.  You will have more energy.  You won't wear out as easily because your life is in balance and you're not creating a rough spot in your life.  You will enjoy life more.  You will be more mentally alert.  You will be deeper spiritually. You will be more emotionally stable.  You will feel better physically.  You will enjoy your friendships and relationships much, much more.  I think imbalance is the number one problem I see in people's lives.  It shows itself in many different forms because we get imbalanced in different areas.  But it's the same root and it's what we're going to work on together.  We're not talking about a self-help program where you go out and change your life on your own willpower.  We're going to look at how Jesus Christ can make a difference.  The starting point is put Him at the center. 

       Would you pray a prayer in your heart right now and ask Him to be the center of your life?  Whether you've ever done it before or if this is the fiftieth time, would you ask Him to become the focal point of your life so that everything else will be brought into balance?  If your life is falling apart, would you say, "Jesus Christ, would You take the pieces and put it back together?"  He loves you, He wants to help you, He's waiting on you. 

       Lord, I thank You that You can help us to live balanced lives.  Thank You that the principles of balance are found in Your word.  This summer I pray that many of us will find a new renewal in our lives becoming all that You want us to be, becoming balanced people.  In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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