The Contradictions of Christian Life. 380. May 8, 2022.



KEY SCRIPTURE Philippians 3:7

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.


APPLICATION

This message isn't really suited to a Mother's Day salute with breakfast in bed and a bit of pampering. But it does contain riches we need to see on any day, even special days like this one. I do hope your day starts and ends wonderfully.


Many things God calls us to defy logic and the principles of this world. They seem counter-productive, which is why we must choose whom we serve.


While putting some old studies in order from the 90s, I came across this set of one-liners that tangibly speak of the Christian life. I'm sure you will recognise them. Looking at some of these illogical challenges, we can see how the world cannot comprehend why anyone would follow Christ.


If you want to live, then you need to die

If you want to gain, then you need to give

If you want to rule, then you need to serve

If you want to overcome, then you need to yield

If you want to rejoice, then you need to grieve.


As strange as they seem, we learn to live a God-focussed life through these contradictory principles.


Called to spiritual improvement, every Christian aims for the great heights of humility and lowliness. We take this saved carcass of a human being—ourselves—and by teaming with the Holy Spirit, turn it into the marvellous creation God envisions. He has the finished image of what He's hoping we grow into.


For some of us, it's a long distance from poor character to Christlikeness. From quarrelsome to silence, disorganised to organised, angry to peaceful, lustful to self-controlled, from being a coward to being fearless, and from foolish to wise in mouth, heart and deed. It is indeed the death of a thousand cuts, as we surrender to the Cross of Christ.


When we look at these five manners of life, we cannot help thinking of our Saviour, who died to self to save us. The beatings and the Cross were His objectives, but He knew He had to die long before that to endure those.


Using these five doctrines of faith, how are you going with dying to self? I know they're challenging, but to follow Christ, these are essential features of a one-way life.


God loves, desires and needs us to fulfil His work on earth. But we are given a will of our own. He will not force anyone to give up themselves to walk the path of the Cross. As we have sought and found Salvation, we must continue to offer ourselves, so He can take hold and lead us unto the stature of a perfect man in His sight.


We should look to God in the days ahead as He guards and watches over us jealously, and put our hands to the plough, so to speak, giving our best at all times. There is a way that God has given into peoples' hands, a perfect way. It is this way that He desires us to walk in.


He calls us to write this way on our hearts, keeping it close, for we have many temptations to face in this life, and only those who are strong and able to stand are of any use to Him.


If you're struggling to change, ask the Lord to help you and put more effort in yourself. Don't forget, in a mere few days, Gideon transformed from a fearful person hiding behind a wheat press to a victorious head warrior in Israel. You have the same abilities within you. The Lord's strength needs to replace our weaknesses to produce the changes, and it will. Don't give up.


PRAYER

Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminder of what I need to become. It reinforces Jesus' inner strength to defy the times and endure the changes that allowed His ministry. Please continue to lead me in the way of the Cross, and make the changes you need to within me.

Photo by Gabriele Stravinskaite