Matthew 10:39 “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
The Word of God is filled with ideas and concepts that cause you stop and consider the implications. What may seem like a straightforward thought is upended when placed within a spiritual connotation. In certain circumstances, we as a human race tend to measure our reality from the position of where we can experience it with our senses, then suddenly the Lord removes our superficial perspective and replaces it with a view towards the eternal.
Personally, the more I look beyond the obvious, the more I see the hand of God moving, He is everywhere and it seems no detail is too small to overlook. When I notice the Lord’s work in something that seems too small or insignificant I begin to gain a perspective that for God, everything is important. When His handprint is on something I cannot see, I realize there is much more going on than I could ever know or understand. When I consider the reality of how big this universe is, how many people are in it, how many thoughts, and words, and actions are happening every second of every day and then I see the Lord taking notice of these small things….wow, how Great is our God….how Great is His majesty….He is worthy of our praise.
A paradox is a statement that might seem contradictory or absurd but finds itself to be true. When examining spiritual truth we can tend to recoil when we hear something that conflicts with our idea of reality. Jesus was often found making statements that made people recoil upon first hearing, yet these statements were given often as a test for the hearer and as a revelation for things to come.
Take for example Jesus’ parable regarding faith and duty. In Luke 17:6-10, we hear Jesus recount the attitude of a servant in regards to his master, we pick it up in verse 10.
“So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”
The servant is subservient to the master and it is under the master’s authority, power, and supervision by which the servant acts. Any good thing that comes as a result of a faithful servant is a direct result of the master, therefore the proper attitude is not one of pride but humble obedience.
Then we see another aspect of the servant and the master in Ephesians 2:10 that reveals the paradox.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
What may seem like a paradox in regards to the servant moving from a position of being unprofitable to profitable for good works is more of a revelation of how we produce eternal reward. When we are placed in the hands of the Master (Jesus), we become profitable by way of God’s hand in us, not according to anything we have personally done but according to God’s power working through us. If we attempt to do the work apart from Him, the work becomes a practice in self-fulfillment and pride.
The way of the Master might seem difficult at first but as you walk the path of freedom the way becomes a release from the striving and you can appreciate the clarity that it brings.
For example Jesus speaks of the yoke of working for God:
Matthew 11:29-30 “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.”
The yoke is a restraining device used for oxen plowing a field. The field of God is the world and all He has called His people to do. Overturning false precepts, taking out the rocks of indifference, and planting seed that might produce fruit of righteousness is the labor He has called us to partake in, then we see a little different perspective in Matthew 7:14.
“Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
The paradox reveals that in one instance the yoke of walking with God is easy, He seems to do the majority of the work and then in the next thought we find the walk treacherous and difficult. The truth revealed is in how you walk. If you are yoked with Jesus, He leads the way, does the majority of the work, and makes the way straight.
When we attempt to go this path alone it is impossible to complete. The labor is more than we can handle, the ability to stay on track becomes a practice in perpetual frustration, and the fruit of our labor will never come to fruition.
Are you beginning to see a pattern here?
In Christ or apart from Him?—this is the paradox of life. The true dilemma is for those who claim to be in Christ but attempt to work apart from Him. The agenda is a man-made/personal gain agenda and not a purpose that is meant to glorify God. We see another paradox in regards to meaning and purpose in this regard.
Meaning and Purpose
Ecclesiastes 1:2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
In one instance it seems everything we do is only vanity or just a prideful display of personal adoration but then Paul reveals works in a different light.
1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
The excessive display of pride is the mark of one doing a ‘good work’ for themselves. Ultimately, the fruit will bear out in the end by the response of those involved. Vanity is the headline for the path of the prideful, the glory of God is the headline for the one living for Christ.
Much of what I do, including writing this short blog each day, is to encourage others in their faith or to plant a seed of testimony that might hopefully grow into a life of faith in Christ. As a servant of the Lord, I am compelled to do as my Master instructs and once He says enough, then I move with Him to the next field. Along the way, the people He instructs His servants to minister to are designated by Him for a purpose—He prepares the field—He gives the pearl of great price(the gospel)—He plants the seeds and waters them in their infancy—and ultimately the Lord is the One bringing in the harvest.
- “Give to the one who asks you.” (Matthew 5:40-41)
- “Don’t toss your pearls before pigs.” (Matthew 7:6)
As you can see, even the things He gives us, He instructs in how to use them. This is what it looks like to walk in Christ…He literally does it all. The more you understand what it means to live for Christ, the more you will see the majesty of His hand in your life.
God’s pleasure is revealed in the faithful servant. The servant partakes, relishes in the joy of walking with Him, and gets to see the Hand of the Lord working through him/her.
Is this life for you?
I hope I’ve described it in enough clarity that you can make an informed decision before you leap into the world of True Christianity, a world where faith abides in Christ alone. Ultimately, this decision comes down to where your heart is, what you really desire.
The final paradox is a revelation of your heart.
- “Blessed are those who hunger.” (Matthew 5:6)
- “No one who comes to me will ever be hungry.” (John 6:35)
If your desire is for Jesus, He will fill you. Come not expecting to bring anything other than a willing and humble heart, then watch what He can do.