27 September 2010

The world upside down

. . . they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus."
-Acts 17They said the Apostles turned the world upside down. They meant by that that they were disturbers of the peace. But they said a great true thing. For Christ’s Gospel does turn the world upside down. It was the wrong way upwards before and now that the Gospel is preached and when it shall prevail—it will set the world right by turning it upside down . . .

Man is a little world and what God does in the outer world He does in the inner. If any of you would be saved your hearts must be turned upside down.
-Charles H. Spurgeon

Spurgeon goes on to describe how a new Christian's heart is upended. A moment before the man was trusting in himself and admiring evil, with God far from his mind. Now he is throwing himself upon Christ and glorifying His name.

That internal flip has visible consequences: because of the eternal hope animating this new life, many of the world's passions now seem empty, while things despised by the world become a source of intense joy. This doesn't make sense to onlookers. What happens in a Christian's heart is not just an adjustment-- it is a transformation.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6

This sounds great . . . until you make it specific.

Look at your own life. Don't sidestep. Where do you spend time and money? What excites you, worries you, engages your attention? Whose glory do you love? And are those things determined by the world's standards, or by the shockingly humble, often uncomfortable standards of Christ Jesus?

It takes faith to exalt God in everyday life. It takes faith to practice justice, kindness, and humility. For me, faith often comes up short, and far too much of my life fits right into this world-- not the upside-down world of the Gospel. Lord, give me a clearer vision of your kingdom, that I would desire to live as a citizen of heaven and not of earth!

I put, then, the question to you again—“Have you been turned upside down?”

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