Daily Devotional

Luke 9:24

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

Throughout high school and college, I took several communications, speech, and writing classes. I figured they were things I already enjoyed doing, so taking a class on them would not only meet a requirement but might actually be enjoyable as well. Though each class was different in structure, information, and content, they all emphasized a similar theme; always make sure to drive home your main point. I still clearly remember one of my professors saying, “If they leave remembering just ONE thing, what do you want that one thing to be?” This has helped me not only in my own words and writings, but also as I digest the words and writings of others.

I just finished a book called “The End of Me” by a pastor named Kyle Idleman. The book was an in-depth look at the Sermon on the Mount. As I was reading this book, I was impressed with how clearly his main point was articulated and reinforced. I have no doubt what his main point is; we see a lot of things upside-down.

So much of our Christian faith seems upside-down: “the last shall be first;” “when we’re weak, then we’re strong;” “to be free we have to surrender.” This upside-down-ness certainly applies to the Sermon on the Mount. Who is blessed? According to Jesus’ words it’s the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the persecuted and reviled. This is all so very upside-down to what we consider “blessed” in our modern, 21st century world.

But what if it’s not upside-down? If Jesus is saying something is right-side-up, then we must be the ones seeing things wrong. Perhaps it’s not that Jesus’ words are upside-down, but that the upside-down ways of the world are so ingrained in us that we have started to think they’re right-side-up? I’m not just talking about the evil ways of the world, which we know are clearly wrong, but of many other values that we are seeing from the wrong view. What do we think success looks like? What do we think makes someone important or valuable? Whom do we consider blessed?

The more I look to the world to define such things, then the words of Jesus seem upside-down, but when I change my perspective from one focused on the here and now to one focused on eternity, the ways of the world truly seem to be the things that are skewed.

Time after time, Jesus told his followers and adversaries that things are different in the Kingdom of God. When we get to the end of ourselves and stop prioritizing our own needs, wants, and desires; when we get to a place of laying down our lives, of emptying ourselves, then we’ll see that we have room to be filled in a far greater way. We find that when we lay down our lives, we gain a greater and more fulfilling life than we could ever find on our own. This isn’t upside-down; this is finally seeing things right-side-up.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.