The universe is established on tension. Without tension in the bowstring, the arrow will not fly. Without tension of different muscle groups, it is impossible to walk. Without chemical tension across a cell membrane, the heart muscle cannot beat. Without electrical tension between electrons and protons, there is no electricity, no lights, no kitchen appliances. Without rest, exercise destroys. Without exercise, rest destroys. Without play, work destroys. Without work, play destroys.
Tension is present within the kingdom of God and the truths of Jesus. For instance, Galatians 6:2 says “bear one another’s burdens” and Galatians 6:5 (just a few verses later) says “each one shall bear his own load.” Well, which is it? The answer is yes – both of these truths are true. There seems to be a tension between them. They are not contradictory…they are just both true. It is possible for me to only believe one of these truths and base my life on it. In the long run, I will not do well; I will have a partial foundation, not a full foundation. Partial foundations will crack and crumble over time.
John 1:17 says that “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Jesus is fully grace and fully truth.
Each of these truths are amazing in and of themselves. However, one without the other will give me a faulty foundation. Mark Batterson, author of “Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God” says it this way: grace says that I will always love you; truth says that I will always be honest with you (tell you the truth).
I now endeavor to leave the truth tensions of scripture side-by-side. I don’t try to do away with one to establish the other. When two seemingly opposite forces are left side-by-side and tension is generated, power and movement are possible. Think of magnets. When power and movement are generated through tension, anything is possible.
Paul Manwaring, pastor and retired nurse and retired prison warden, has written and spoken extensively on healthy tension. You can find his books and teachings through a google search.