image by dedicatedfaith.com
The riddle for the day: What do you call a husband and wife when she has a Ph.D. in History, and he's an oncologist? Answer: a paradox.
OK, corny and old, but cute. A paradox, in reality, is two contradictory statements when both are true. My preeminent example comes from Jesus, "If you save your life you'll lose it, but if you lose it for my sake you'll save it" (Matthew 16:25). But we need to move back to gain a greater context to understand its significance. In verse 21, Jesus proclaimed that he must die, to which Peter protested vigorously. Jesus then called him Satan, a pretty strong accusation, because he relied on a human perspective rather than a godly one.
Jesus then gave the mark of a follower: to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow. THEN he gave the line about losing and saving our lives.
Or, if we save our lives for ourselves, if want to run them, even as followers, and put God in second place, then we lose our lives. A pretty high standard.
The option is to begin with losing our lives. We raise the white flag of surrender. We accept his values, his character, his plan, his way of doing things, his mission and purpose. OK, none of us begin perfectly or become that, but this should represent our deepest goals.
Now, why should we celebrate this? God knows better than we how human life should go. Duh, he created us! So when we give up, we have the ability to move beyond all that keeps us from being optimal people. We yield our desires and values from those from someone with far greater wisdom. I've lived without God at all, halfway with him, and sold out. Only the latter satisfies that deep inward longing that allows the fullness of our humanity to be realized. We break free from the bondage of others' opinions, of our mistakes and finiteness and guilt and shame.
So, we celebrate our surrender. Hope you do the same.
Kick Starting the Application
Whatmost keeps you from fully raising that white flag to God? Does it flow from your view of him, or some behaviors and attitudes you desperately want to hang on to? This next question may sound either simplistic or arrogant, but what makes you think you know better than God about how to live? Do you see the benefits of surrendering? How can you best resolve these issues? Will you work on them this week?