Sow & Gather

The Paradox of a Christian Life

New BeginningsMarci AnthonyComment

Here is a trustworthy saying: ”If we died with him, we will also live with him…” 2 Timothy 2:11 

The Bible is full of paradoxes. Many Old and New Testament stories contain twists and turns, making it important to delve deeper as you read to understand the meaning behind what is happening. That’s what makes the Bible so fascinating-- just when you think you have figured out the true meaning behind a particular verse, God shows you something new. There is not another published work that consistently changes your scope of thought and challenges you to push beyond your limits.  

Paul’s letters to Timothy are two of my favorite books in the Bible because they are chocked full of truths. These words of wisdom were not only true in the time of Paul and Timothy, but they also apply to today’s society as well.  The Bible is full of daily reminders to help us navigate through each day, but sometimes we have to think outside of the box to get at the true meaning. 

An example of one of these great truths lies in 2 Timothy 2:11:  “If we died with him, we will also live with him...” This is true because when we look at Romans 8:10 it says, “But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.” Translation: When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts and take over our lives, we are telling ourselves that we will no longer live the way we did in the past.  Our old soul dies to self, and we become filled with the Holy Spirit.  Our soul is revived in the manner of Christ Jesus. Therefore, because our soul is now washed clean, we can live eternally with Jesus. So here’s the paradox: we die, but because we have faith in Jesus, we have the promise of eternity. 

Sitting in church one day recently, we had a guest preacher who had more one-liners than I could write down.  But one that I did scribble down quickly was what he called the Paradox of the Christian Life, and it went something like this: 

          “To save your life, you must lose it. To live, you must die. To receive, you must give. To                  be made whole, you must be broken. To be filled, you must be empty.”

If you let these truths sink in, you realize how amazing our Lord is. As humans, our first thought is not to give of ourselves but to take back what is “ours.” We need to remove all of the selfish possessives out of the equation like “ours,” “yours,” “mine,” which are indicators of selfishness.  Instead, we need to substitute “His,” meaning all we are and all we have is God’s. When we realize that God created us and holds the universe in His hands, we realize how insignificant we really are. He doesn’t need us, but He wants to include us in His ultimate plan. I feel blessed to know that I am part of God’s plan. I certainly don’t think in paradoxes, but I’m learning to apply those truths in my life...sorry, I meant His creation.

Dig Deeper |

Read of some other paradoxes:  Philippians 3:7-8; John 12:24.

Action Item |

As you study the Bible, look for ways that God uses paradoxes and try to interpret their meaning.  Check your understanding against a Bible commentary and see how they compare.  You might be surprised at what God is revealing to you through your Bible study. 

Prayer |

Heavenly Father, You are so complex but You break things down for my simple mind to understand. Thank You for creating a Book to help me get a glimpse of Your power and glory. AMEN

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