Chaos and Rigidity

It has been said that a healthy life is one in which a person lives between a state of chaos and rigidity. On the one hand, a life out of control is not a good thing. To the other extreme, a life of no flexibility can be equally unfruitful.

When we consider the life of Jesus, we see a life of balance. Where there is chaos, Jesus creates order. Where there is sickness and fragmentation, Jesus brings healing and wholeness. Perhaps the most overt example of this is Jesus calming the storm.  

We read in Luke 8:22-25:
Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm.

In Genesis 1-2, God makes a world where everything is in its proper place. Everything has boundaries and remains where it should be. Sin, therefore, is the trespassing of God’s established order. The calming of the storm is a wonderful example of Jesus bringing order into the chaos of the sinful world.

So, on the one hand, Jesus moves situations away from chaos. On the other hand, we see situations of too much rigidity. For example, the Pharisees created traditions that, at times, were more stringent than the Law. This why Jesus says in Matthew 23:23-24,
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.

Furthermore, the people’s rejection of Jesus as the Messiah comes about because of their rigidity. They had it in their minds what the Messiah would be like, and Jesus did not fit their mental image. Their misinterpretation of the Messiah was such that they were unwilling to change their preconceived ideas.

As with all things, Jesus is our example. This also is the case when it comes to living a balanced life. It’s tempting for us to live in the extremes. Some people live in a state of chaos. At the other far end, some live in rigidity, unwilling to ever change anything. The life of holiness is the life in the middle of the polar extremes. There are times when we need our lives to be more ordered. And there are also times when we need our lives to be more open to change. Jesus shows us the way.