Category Archives: A Life of Balance

Remember learning how to ride a bike? It was all a matter of balance. The same is true for our lives. Learn how to develop that balance which will keep your life and ministry healthy and honoring God.

The Devil is Bad Enough

The Devil is Bad Enough - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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It is so important that we strive to maintain a balance between attributing things to demonic activity and recognizing natural phenomena. A particular instance comes to mind when I think of this subject. It was a time many years ago when I was speaking at a church. After the meeting a lady came up to me and said, “Brother K.P., will you please lay your hand on me and pray for me?” Naturally, I asked what she wanted me to pray for.

She answered, “I have a demon of smoking.”

I replied, “Dear lady, you don’t have a demon. You can cast out demons, but you cannot cast out the flesh.”

For every flare of temper, every weakness, every time you sneeze, you may think, “Oh, there is a demon.” Your car just swerved into the next lane or some madman drove through the red light. “Oh, there’s a demon attacking me.” No. The Devil is bad enough. Don’t attribute every little bad thing that happens to him.

Please don’t look at the events in your life and think demons are after you all the time. There are demons and there are attacks. But we should be careful not to become paranoid of the things that happen in life. If there are demons, the Lord has given us the authority to pray and tell them to leave—and they must go.

The truth is, the Devil is defeated. Therefore, the child of God has no reason to be afraid of Satan and his hordes of demons. Someone who has truly repented of sin and trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ lives a life that has been washed in the blood of the Lamb. When Jesus died on the cross, He placed demons and Satan—the whole evil bunch—under His feet. And we are the Body of Christ, so the whole satanic force is under our feet. The Scripture specifically tells us, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4, NASB).

One of the main tactics that Satan uses is causing us to forget who we are in Christ. This deception is very powerful. When we forget that Satan was defeated through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we also forget the greatness of our God. In Ephesians 1:20–23, we read of the tremendous authority that the Lord Jesus Christ has given to His Body, that is, each one of us who belongs to the Lord:

. . . when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

For many of us, we constantly see the Enemy and his tactics all around, and we focus on what we see rather than on the power of our God. This is clearly illustrated in the story of the 12 spies who were sent out to evaluate the Promised Land (see Numbers 13). Except for Joshua and Caleb, 10 of them—the majority—came back talking about the giants they saw in the land and how they could never conquer them. It even says in Numbers 13:33, “There we saw the giants . . . and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” They made the confession that it was impossible to possess the land God had promised them. The problem was not the giants—it was that they saw only the giants. What they overlooked was the greatness of God in the situation and how God saw them—able to possess the land by His might!

This is so true in our lives today as well. When dealing with daily life struggles and issues, especially if they are influenced by satanic forces, we can easily forget that God is just that—God! Ephesians 6:16 (NASB) tells us we should take up “the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” That means no matter what we face, we are given the authority, and we can overcome and stand firm and victorious.

At the same time, we need to be very careful that we do not look at people with emotional problems or certain mental problems as being demon possessed. Just like there are large numbers of people living with physical illness, there are thousands and tens of thousands of people who are inflicted with some form of emotional or mental problem. What they need is counseling based on God’s Word and treatment by professional people.

Please understand. There are very real physical and mental illnesses. With some of these you can pray against demons all you want, but that is not going to work. These people need treatment, help and counseling. At the same time, some people are demonized, as seen in Mark 5:1–20. Nothing will help them except praying and casting out the demon.

There are natural phenomenas, calamities, problems and difficulties in life. But there is also demonic activity that needs to be recognized for what it is. Unless we are careful, we can get out of balance and forget there are two sides.

© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


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Our Need and Christ’s Sufficiency

Our Need and Christ's Sufficiency - KP Yohannan - Gospel or Asia

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We all have expectations for ourselves. We all have ways we would like to be different. Perhaps we would like to be more patient or less prone to anger. When we do not measure up to the standards we have set for ourselves we become discouraged. But we have to realize that God is not discouraged with us. He never gives up on us. He never stops working with us. Balance is needed between knowing our sins and insufficiency and knowing that it is God who works within us, perfecting us for His glory.

When you pray, do you oftentimes get weighed down with confessing your owns sins and repenting for every wrong thought and failure? Sometimes it seems we can’t get over this, living with constant memories from the past and old sins that caused great pain. Many people live continually with the words, “If only . . . if only . . . I wish,” playing through their minds, unable to move past their failures.

Sometimes we feel that we don’t pray enough. We are not spiritual enough. We don’t have enough of a burden for the lost. We feel we are not good husbands, good fathers, good wives, good mothers or good children. We think negative things about ourselves, and we begin to dwell on these thoughts, beating ourselves up because we don’t spend money wisely, don’t study enough or don’t pray enough.

We all have this problem—me included. Our expectations of ourselves can take us into spiritual darkness. This happens because we become our own judge. We become our law. We become our guide and teacher, the one who evaluates ourself. In the end, it is a cesspool of self-centeredness and anguish.

Matthew 12:20 says, “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench.” Philippians 1:6 says, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

Ten looks at self and one look at Jesus will make you a hypocrite. You will have to pretend to be spiritual, living with conflict and mental torture because you don’t measure up to your own standards. Hear the frustration in Paul’s voice when he writes of the great insufficiency of I in Romans 7:14–23. If you are this kind of individual there is no rest for you. This happens because you become too introspective, taking the focus off of Christ and placing it on yourself.

But one look at self and ten looks at Jesus will keep you going. Romans 7:24–25 says, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our LORD!” Yes! It is through Jesus Christ our Lord!

It is good to know our weaknesses and failures, for how can we confess our sins unless we see them as sins? Toward the end of his life, Paul calls himself the worst of sinners (see Timothy 1:15), knowing that in his flesh there dwelt nothing that was good. This is being honest about our true condition. But in this honesty, we must also know God’s longsuffering and faithfulness in working with us in our many weaknesses.

It is in knowing our true condition that we understand the fullness and completeness of God’s great love for us. We could never fully understand and appreciate what Christ has done for us until we know something of our wretched state. Knowing the offense in us causes us to understand the depth of His grace—that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The danger lies in dwelling on our sins, failures and shortcomings.

We must look to Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, the giver of all good gifts—our Master, Savior, Redeemer and Friend. We must trust Him. We must have faith that He will mold us into His image and that He will not give up on us. It took 20 years for God to make Jacob into Israel. But did God give up on him? No.
High standards are very good.

We encourage people to read The Road to Reality,1 The Calvary Road,2 True Discipleship3 and other books whose authors challenge a deeper life and commitment. The tremendous challenge is to constantly abandon all and follow the Lord—walking away from friendship with the world and keeping ourselves free from the pollution of watered-down Christianity.

None of us is capable of serving God in our own strength. That is good. None of us measures up. It is the strength and grace of Jesus that allows us to serve. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). We have to fully understand both parts of this verse—the first part, “with man this is impossible” and the second part, “but with God all things are possible” (emphasis added).

Keep in mind—wherever you are in your spiritual walk with the Lord, God is not concerned about whether you are now a mature, strong person. No. He is looking at your heart. Let Him work with you. Trust Him to do His work in you.

I want to encourage you. When you have these struggles in your spiritual life—when you feel weak, like you are not measuring up—just be yourself. Admit your sins and shortcomings. Don’t try to prove anything to anyone. The worst thing you can do is become a hypocrite and pretender. One thing God hates more than anything else is hypocrisy.

Let us be honest with each other. I share my weaknesses and problems. One time when I was speaking to seminary students, I shared about the struggles I have in many areas of my life. It shocked the students. One of them said to me afterwards, “We never thought someone like you would have struggles in your life.”
I replied, “You must be joking!” The truth is we all struggle with one thing or another.

But even when you are discouraged about yourself, God is not. He loves you. He has forgiven your sins—the ones you have committed, the ones you are committing and the ones you will commit until the last second of your life. It’s all taken care of.

You cannot make yourself spiritual by weeping and fasting and punishing yourself. As much as you are concerned about your inner life, putting yourself down and dwelling on failures and sins will not help. Remember, it is God who is working with you and He will not let you go. He is faithful to complete the good work He started in you.

1 K.P. Yohannan, The Road to Reality (Carrollton, TX: gfa Books, 1988).
2 Roy Hession, The Calvary Road (London: Christian Literature Crusade, 1950).
3 William McDonald, True Discipleship (Kansas City: Walterick Publishers, 1975).

© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


Click here, to read more articles about GFA Books, or visit Patheos.

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Both Sides of the Coin

Both Sides of the Coin - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Have you ever seen those people in the circus—the tightrope walkers on the high wire? It’s all balance. They must study and learn the proper way to carry themselves as they walk that wire, otherwise they will fall. Balance is crucial in every aspect of our lives, whatever it may be.

In God’s plan and creation, things are made to balance out. When we look at life, whether we are Christians or non-Christians, in ministry or otherwise, we need to have balance as our anchor, cultivating it daily into our thoughts and actions.

Where do we find such a balance? We find it in the Word of God. The Bible presents us with that proper, whole and complete understanding—a stable approach of thought and action. All truth has two sides, just as a bird flies with two wings. Have you ever seen a bird with one wing fly? If you have ever seen one, I guarantee you it did not fly for long. The bird has been given two wings so that it can soar away from the earth and experience the awesomeness of God’s creation and majesty, appreciating the vastness of God’s handiwork. We also are meant to soar in this life. But like the bird, we cannot fly with just one wing, no matter how strong and healthy that one wing may be. With only one wing, we are unable to stay aflight due to unbalanced thinking, behaviors and decisions. If we focus only on one side of the coin, we do not have the whole picture and are therefore incomplete.

We must be especially careful of this imbalance when it comes to living a life that is radical for Christ. Many times people are drawn to certain movements or ministries because they operate on the radical edge—that craziness and foolishness for Christ’s sake. This type of commitment often brings a breath of fresh air in a place where ministries become dull after time. That edge is good, yet we should keep that edge without becoming too extreme. Maintaining a balance is critical to the health of any individual or organization.

If you look at many movements, you will find that radical edge—in the early days, that is. Unfortunately, many become watered-down over time. Thinking they have been too radical, full of zeal, working day and night, many feel the need to become “normal.” And normal often means lukewarm, becoming like everybody else, operating according to the standards of the world. This results in the loss of passion and purpose. Now all that remains is a structure and shadow—an organizational framework.

We should personally seek to live lives of continual commitment and abandonment—forsaking all and following the Lord. We must continually endeavor to keep that vision alive. We do not want to become lukewarm. However, unless we are careful, our desire to be alive and impassioned can produce an unbalanced extreme.

We are living in a day when extremism is clearly evident, especially when it comes to religious matters. Many cults started with Bible studies and good intentions. They did not begin as cults, but became one as they fell out of balance.

When I first visited the United States, I read a shocking article in a newspaper about a group of people in Louisiana. The members of this group were picking up venomous snakes and drinking the poison, declaring that God would keep them safe from the harmful affects. Many of these people died while proving their “faith.” Then there is the story about parents in certain churches letting their children die from diseases, keeping them from medical treatment and claiming “faith.” One family, after praying for their diabetic son, threw away his insulin. The poor child died. It was all in the name of “faith”—an extreme and unbalanced faith.

Please let us beware. Satan is the master deceiver. He masquerades as an angel of light. He will seek to sidetrack us with religious thinking that is unbalanced. The more intense and radical our lives are in following the Lord, the more authentic and holy we want to be in our pursuit of God, then the more we are in danger of getting out of balance and going to extremes.

One reason why there has been so much division, disunity and fighting in the Body of Christ throughout history is because an individual or group took a truth, stretched it to an extreme and left out the other side of the story. They forgot that the coin always has two sides and that the bird flies with two wings.

For example, take the Calvinistic and the Armenian points of view. The Calvinists believe in predestination, the election of the saints. Man has nothing to do with it; God has already chosen those who will go to heaven. The Armenians believe in the free will of man to choose. So it is up to man to decide if he is going to heaven or hell by his own choice to receive or reject Christ. These two groups never seem to come to terms. Yet both positions are taught in Scripture. It is like two sides of the same coin.

I’ve had my own personal experience with this. At one time, somebody heard a few of my talks that I gave for the staff and some of the teaching that I did for the Seminary in India. Afterwards this person came to me and said, “I am so confused about your teaching. I heard several of your messages. They all contradict each other. One message is totally one way on a subject and the next time it’s the opposite way on the same subject. There doesn’t seem to be any cohesion.”

Gently I tried to explain to this person, “It’s alright. Please understand that when I speak in a meeting there is time for only part of the story. Even after two or three times of speaking, there still may not be enough time to bring the full balance to a particular subject.” I feel badly many times because people often do not realize there is always the other side of the story in the messages I speak. If I have five or six opportunities to speak on a certain issue, then I can bring balance. Unfortunately, someone who reads only one book I have written or hears me speak just one time might think that I am completely one-sided. But then they hear me in some other situation and realize my position is not at all what they thought it to be at first.

Sometimes the Bible appears to contradict itself, but actually through these types of Scriptures we find the balance God desires. For example, Jesus said, “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:3–4). But, on the other hand, He said, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12, NIV). There is both the life beneath the soil and the life above the soil. There is that balance.

Proverbs 30:8–9 says, “Give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.” It is not being rich or being poor that is important. What is important is honoring God.

James talks about rich people—the millionaires of today—coming to church wearing gold rings and fine clothes. But the point James is trying to get across has nothing to do with rich people selling all their gold and expensive things. Instead, he says not to give more honor to the rich people than to the poor people who come (see James 2:3–4). You see, in the church you have both groups—rich and poor. The balance is kept with love, not with external agendas.

Another example of how things can get out of balance can be seen in the life of Martin Luther. The Reformation started based on the teaching of faith—that our salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ, not by works. “The righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17, NIV). “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV). This was a great revelation to Luther because his church at that time was preaching a salvation based on works and good deeds.

But when Martin Luther read James, he saw that it talked also about works. “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? . . . Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:14, 17, NASB). Luther could not grasp this. He grappled with the message of the book of James to such a degree that he didn’t think it should be part of the Bible. He had come out of the works position into the faith position, and he could not see the whole picture.

In reality, there is a beautiful balance between faith and works. We can see a picture of it in the life of Abraham. Around the age of 75, Abraham was promised a son. Twenty-five years later at the age of 100, his body was “as good as dead,” and his wife’s was also (see Romans 4). Physically, they were too old to have children. So how did Abraham and Sarah get their son? It was not a virgin birth. Abraham had a part to play. God used his body, his energy, and his blood to bring forth a son. Abraham could have said, “God promised, so He’ll do it,” and just sat there. But he didn’t do that. That’s what it means when it says faith without works is dead. When Abraham offered his son Isaac, it was a real offering up—a work. He took Isaac in his own hands, laid him on the altar and raised the knife. Real faith has action; it is visible; it is a faith with works.

Over and over again we see this balance in the Scriptures. God’s throne is built on the foundation of mercy and justice. It is not built on mercy alone or justice alone. There is balance. He is the God of Jacob, who was a crook, a deceiver and a liar. Yet He is also the God of Israel, which means “prince of God.”

There is both work and rest. The two are not incompatible. In fact, Jesus speaks of the two existing simultaneously. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).

In all of our maturing and growing in understanding and living as the Body of Christ, we need to be continually called back to balanced thinking. And that proper balance is given to us through the Word of God.

© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


Click here, to read more articles about GFA Books, or visit Patheos.

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A Life of Balance

A Life of Balance - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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“It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.” Ecclesiastes 7:18, NASB

One of my happiest times growing up in India was playing along the river. When the monsoon season came and brought the floods, the river near my village would swell. You could be sure all little kids were out on the rushing water playing in our tiny, homemade canoes—so small they could hold only one person. I was there too, just a young boy, maybe five or six years old.

Just imagine, a young little kid, no more than 60 pounds, tossing on the rushing waters of a flooded river in a makeshift canoe. I can remember countless times when the whole thing would be flipped over by the force of the water, and I’d be underneath with that canoe over my head.

But after many monsoon seasons and many flips, I became an expert at handling my little canoe in the floodwaters. I became so good that I could actually stand and put one foot on each side of the canoe and balance myself on the outer edges. Then I’d maneuver myself right through those waters. These memories make me wish I were young again.

It was growing up by the river that I first began to learn the lesson of balance, which affects life every day, no matter where we are. In order to maintain a healthy life and ministry that doesn’t just come and go but is continually sustained by God and His grace, we need to have a balanced foundation in our thinking and our service. Then we will be able to maneuver safely through all that comes our way because we will be grounded by the Word of God.

© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.


Click here, to read more articles about GFA Books, or visit Patheos.

Go here to know more about Gospel for Asia: | Wiki | GFA| Facebook