March 4, 2012

The Truth Standing On Its Head – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Communication is seldom as easy as it seems. We have all had the experience of trying our best to explain something only to find that the listener completely misunderstood. Communicating spiritual truths is an even greater challenge.

The Bible is God’s effort to communicate divine wisdom. In it we see the value of written instruction, figures of speech, illustrations and visual aids. The paradox is one of these communication tools. Fundamental truths expressed as apparent contradictions arrest our attention. We say, “Whoa…Wait a minute…” and we ponder. Someone has said it is as if the truth were standing on it’s head so that we can’t miss it.

Giving is not the world’s method of attaining prosperity. The value of giving is one of those difficult lessons, fundamental to Christianity, that God attempts to communicate by means of a paradox.

“There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.” (Proverbs 11:24)

There are many of these acrobatic, upside down truths expressed throughout the Bible. Let’s consider some of these paradoxes that relate to this basic truth.

To really live, we must die.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20).

To save one’s life, he or she must lose it.

“Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:33).

To be wise, we must become fools.

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.” (I Corinthians 3:18)

To reign, we must serve.

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’” (Matthew 25:21)

To be exalted, we must become humble.

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:12).

“So the last shall be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20:16)

The Corinthians, like most today, were caught up in the busy, ambitious affairs of this life. It was not an easy job to communicate to them the value diverting their temporal aspirations to that of being a servant. That’s not what Corinthians wanted to be. How do you get that message across and at the same time get them to really think about it? How about a nine-fold paradox?

“4 but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God… 8 by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; 9 as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, 10 as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.” (II Cor. 6:4, 8-10).

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