The bible says:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
None of these words tend to draw images of somebody flipping out along an extreme. Love may be the most balanced emotion, in that it alone can direct all other emotions without causing internal conflicts. The word self-control also speaks directly to the subject, for it implies that as humans we are tempted towards excessive behavior, that even moralists like someone else pointed out, the Greeks, condemned.
For example, where self-control is not followed, as in the case of excessive drinking, the Bible contrasts this extreme, as opposite to being filled with the Spirit on account of it:
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
Interestingly the word debauchery (ἀσωτία) means 'excess', or 'riot'. Is being excessive not being extreme? This is really what many mean when they say, 'Well that's pretty extreme' often followed by laughter. It means someone hast lost their balance, or 'cool' and is acting to 'excess'.
Excess often takes the form of excessive emotion that do not seem to match what the circumstances call for. From this standpoint extremism is simply long term emotionalism indicating damaged emotions. Sometimes a perfectionist acting like a theological cop on the beat, is just a sincere person who had a father that did not accept him, so there all stressed out poking themselves into other people business when not invited.
For extremism related to damaged emotions refer to this post as God is in the business of healing us regularly.
What kinds of extremes have I encountered (or have been terribly guilty of)?
- Too much into God's word, neglecting the fruit of the Spirit that makes a person relaxed and loving
- Too much into the Spirit wondering if it 'God's will' to buy this chocolate bar versus that one.
- Too much into church, neglecting family and friends
- Too much friends and family time, with no time to meet new people at Church
- Too much insistence on traditions of a single church
- Too little respect for anybodies traditions, or the beliefs of previous generations
- Too many opportunities for sharing the gospel where its actually just rude pushiness
- Too little concern and sharing with others about God's love in the gospel
- Too much involvement in politics so that the gospel message takes a back seat while abortion, poverty, etc. grab all the attention.
- Too little concern for our community or church, resigning everybody to hell as we whistle and skip along our merry way
-Too lazy to get a job or work hard in the crummy one that we have
- Too ambitious and greedy in our career to stop to think what matters
- Not believing in the supernatural at all
- Thinking their is a demon lurking around every corner
- Giving all you have to the poor but not calling them to repentance and faith in Christ
- Giving all to yourself and wondering why you don't receive the proper respect for your knowledge and wisdom?
- Judging yourself by standards nobody has ever lived up to
- Congratulating yourself for getting out of bed
Anyway the list could go on forever but love avoids all extremes and balances justice and mercy. It made Jesus tough and tender, serious but relaxed, among many other perfect excellencies of virtue.
The fruit of the Spirit leads to a balanced mind and heart, so 'yes' although the word 'extreme' may not have been common in Biblical days, the Bible inherently avoids all extremes. Extremes are to be avoided unless they are extremely good, like total abandonment to faith, love and hope in Christ. Such a person is extremely balanced all the way around.