The Teeter-Totter

Video Talk

Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

I read this whole section to get the context, but I am going to focus my attention here on just verse 14:

“ that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

Now, the Lord put in mind a picture of a teeter-totter (See-Saw) which is a recreational object (piece of equipment) found on some children’s playgrounds. It is a long board centered on what might be called a “sawhorse.” And one person sits on one end of the board, and another person sits on the other end. And they push themselves up off the ground with their feet and legs so that one side goes up while the other side goes down, and so this gets repeated over and over, going up and down.

And I definitely saw this in relation to children being tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine. For if you can imagine with me that it is the same person sitting on either side of this teeter-totter, then this is a person who is pushing himself up and down and up and down, and sometimes he is up, and sometimes he is down. But let’s look at this from a spiritual perspective. And to help us understand this, we will look up these words in a thesaurus:

Teeter-Totter (See-Saw): teeter – waver, stagger, wobble, sway; totter – falter, stumble, flounder, walk unsteadily.

Teeter-Totter’s can be found on children’s playgrounds.

Children – (in this context) the immature, childish, irresponsible, foolish, self-indulgent, pleasure-seeking, selfish, self-centered

Playground – where children Play – recreation, amusement, fun, diversion, perform, playact, fool around, waste time.

So, collectively, what this gives us a picture of is a person who is childish, immature, pleasure-seeking, foolish, selfish, and self-indulgent who is wavering and swaying back and forth between what is right and what is wrong, basically. And so he (or she) is stumbling, faltering, and floundering spiritually, going back and forth between trying to follow the Lord but following the flesh, instead. For this is a double-minded person, in other words. And he is focused much on being amused and entertained, and on having fun and fooling around and wasting time, but while he at least is giving the appearance of wanting to do right and to obey the Lord.

But in James 1, where such a person is called “double-minded,” it says that that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, for he is double-minded, unstable in all his ways (which is what is meant by teeter and totter). And we read in other Scriptures that we either are for the Lord or we are not. We are either walking in obedience to the Lord, in practice, living holy lives, or we are walking in disobedience to the Lord, in practice, living in sin and in wickedness. This is not saying we are perfect people, but we can’t be those who deliberately and habitually sin against God and other humans, and who are not walking in obedience to the Lord.

So, the encouragement here is that if you are one who is teetering and tottering, and you are living in self-indulgence and in selfishness, and not according to the will of God, honestly, you need to decide if it is the Lord you want to obey, or if it is self you want to please, instead. For this going back and forth and back and forth is not a picture of someone who truly wants to obey the Lord. It is a picture of someone who is still running his own life hoping he can please God while still walking according to the flesh. And that will never work. So, surrender your life to Jesus today, and daily deny self and die to sin and live to God and to his righteousness.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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