Have any of you ever noticed that our world doesn’t make any sense? Seriously, it’s pretty crazy. Most people go through life never realizing this because they go through the right-side-up world as if it was upside down because they don’t have a map that shows the upside down-ness by their way of thinking actually being right-side-up because they are so upside-down thinking.
Whew! I don’t think that even made sense to me!
The point is that the way God explains our world makes pretty much no logical sense to us because He has a totally different viewpoint. He’s not wearing Earth-colored sunglasses tinted with our idea of normal.
Just look at a few of these verses in Matthew:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The meek are going to inherit the Earth? We are blessed if we are persecuted? We are blessed if we mourn? What?! If we were to write a list of “beatitudes” like this, I know that none of us would have described the world quite this way, at least not without the inspiration of God.
Then there are all the verses like these:
In 2 Corinthians 12:10, Paul says, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…”
And again with the persecution: “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake” (Luke 6:22)
“For the first will be last and the last first” (Matthew 20:16).
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27)
I look at those verses and I balk a little bit. That’s not the way the world works! And I know. I live here.
We think we know this world so well – how we should act in it, how things will play out, rewards and consequences, but we have been given instructions for this world from its very Creator, and it is telling us that sometimes, we don’t know everything. Sometimes, even when it feels so painful to love those who persecute us or when we feel so utterly weak or when we seem too foolish to do anything for God, God says that He sees things differently.
Just knowing that the world really is topsy-turvy is so strengthening and heartening!
First, it does remind us that we can’t depend on our own way of thinking (no follow-your-heart philosophies please) because of verses like Proverbs 16:25 which says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (yeah, we don’t know what we’re doing here without God).
But also, it explains our worldly weirdness! Have you ever done something that is commanded in the Bible (told the truth, dressed modestly, forgiven someone awful, been kind to someone weird, etc.) and had people look at you funny? That’s because they are looking at the world upside down! God has told us how to best live this life, but they aren’t looking at life through that lens. They see it only through the lens of their sin nature.
Plus, verses like this remind us that when we are trying to talk to unbelievers about God, we need to use His Word. Imagine trying to explain something like this to an unbeliever. It would seem ridiculous, laughable even. I would call myself crazy if I had made up any of those verses above on my own. But if we use God’s Word directly, He has promised that it will not return void (Isaiah 55:11). He promises He will use it to accomplish His will. We don’t have a promise like that with our own logic, and we don’t want people to come to Christ from our logic anyway. It needs to be faith in God and His Word, His direction.
2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
So be patient with those who don’t understand your worldview, use God’s own words to explain it to them, and live boldly right-side-up in this topsy turvy world!