Is it the opposite of what you think?
40 Days with Jesus – November 22nd – Luke 22:24-30
Most days I feel like I am going to be a student for the rest of my life. I am presently in my 20th consecutive year of schooling and have at least two more as I work to finish my seminary master’s degree. Over the years I have developed a variety of different study techniques. One of the most ineffective is the idea that the answer is the opposite of what you think it should be. Allow me to explain.
Suppose that I am trying to learn the capital of New York State. My first thought is that it would be New York City, which is not correct. Rather than simply learn that the capital of New York is Albany, I might try and teach myself that the capital is the opposite of what I think it should be. Or in this case, any city other than New York City. That would then prompt me to then recall that the capital is Albany. Did I mention that this was a terribly ineffective study technique?
I think that Jesus’ disciples struggled with this same concept. Often times it must have seemed as if he was asking them to do the opposite of what they thought they should do. After describing the way that the world defines greatness in Luke 22:25, Jesus then tells his disciples “you are not to be like that” (verse 26). Being a follower of Christ should change everything about the way that we see the world. As Christians, we are supposed to be the opposite of what we think we often want to be and certainly of what the world tells us that we are to be. Look at some of Jesus’ instructions…
The greatest among you should be like the youngest. The one who rules should be like the one who serves. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who hurt you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Do to others what you would have them do to you. The first shall be last and the last shall be first.
Craig Groeshel describes this concept in his book, Weird, in which he argues that “normal” isn’t working. All we have to do is look at the world around us to see that “normal” (a.k.a. “selfishness”) is the cause of endless brokenness. Christ has called us to be “weird” and because he did the opposite of what we think he should have done by sacrificing himself on the cross for our sins, we are free to be different.
Let’s challenge ourselves today to not be consumed with the culture around us but rather to be consumed with what Christ has done for us. Are we going to allow the circumstances of our lives to infringe upon our faith or are we going to live out our faith in such a way that it changes the world around us?
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