The Christian life is full of paradox. Marked by the contradictory nature of our own wills and the perfect will of God.
In order to live we must die.
Meaning, that if you are not willing to die you really do not understand the life that awaits and think too highly of the life you now hold. This is the paradox of life being gained only in dying. This is the Christian life.
To lose is to gain.
In this world of winners take all, we are hard pressed to accept the necessity of surrender in order to gain the true prize. But this is the way of the cross. The apparent loser is crowned King and the stubborn and proud are humbled. (Luke 9:25)
The rich will be poor.
To inherit the fullness of God’s righteousness we must in our own foolishness understand we are bankrupt. We are without currency to purchase life, nor skill to earn our own pardon. The wealth we have must mean nothing to us and the poverty we fear must become…friend. (2Cor. 6:10, 2Cor. 8:9, James 2:5 , Prov. 28:6, Prov. 28:11)
The Strong shall be weak.
In Christ our strength is His weakness and our weakness His strength. Because in our strength we leave little room for God to act. Then, it is our feeble attempts and not the omnipotent actions of an omniscient God. It is in humility and surrender that power is released. It is when frail humanity achieves greatness that men acknowledge their creator. (1Cor. 1:27)
The hardest: (Maybe it is simply the hardest for me.)
We must do NOTHING to be saved.
Worse…we can do nothing to be saved. We must instead trust in what has been done for us. I am not at ease with this. I want desperately to aide in my salvation or least suffer for the sins I know I blatantly commit. Yet my big brother… (Jesus)… will have none of it. He will not add to my suffering and indeed has suffered all for me. Salvation rests now, on His sacrifice, complete and final to which I neither add nor subtract. (Eph. 2:8, Matt. 20:16)
Indeed the greatest paradox lies in Christ Himself.
He gave all, that I might have all, and asks nothing in return.
He became poor, that I might be rich, and asks nothing in return.
He became weak that I might have strength and asks nothing in return. (Phil. 2:6-7)
We must obey, but you see, we do not obey out of fear. We do not obey out of obligation. We obey out of love. He asks nothing of us, for our salvation is a gift. It is love that demands. It is love that constrains. It is love that requires, but in so soft a voice you might think it were your own. In time with the Spirit’s work it may be just that…your own. (Rom. 12:1)