Written By Ryan Walters
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people”
And we are so off the mark.
I think it’s appropriate to say we’re upside down .
For as it states in Isaiah 29:16, “Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?”
Lisa Gungor sings in the Colorado-based group of liturgists known as Gungor along with her husband, “Upside down. This world is upside down. Do you see? Do you see us? Do you hear us? Make it right.”
Now you may say “Yeah, Ryan we know. This world is evil and sinful. We’re heard it all before.”
Oh and I am sure you have. But don’t write me off just yet because what you’ve heard plenty of times about the world being upside down due to its sinful components is a general, common statement that’s easy to swallow because of its generic sound exiting your lips. It’s relatively stress-free and informal to openly project such a declaration.
Pastors preach it from a pulpit Sunday after Sunday but that doesn’t necessarily mean its making its way to the hearts of the congregation. Instead, it is quite possible that it is being swallowed up by the flock only to get stuck in their esophagus, never reaching its intended destination: the heart. How could this be? A multitude of reasons come to mind. For one, it could most certainly be the churchgoer himself. Perhaps he’s too busy checking Twitter on his cell, whispering to his neighbor or so preoccupied with wondering how his NFL fantasy team will do later that day. And maybe it’s the pastor. Perhaps he hasn’t taken the time to elaborate a bit more on what ‘the world being upside down’ refers to. God forbid he reminds himself a large percentage of his congregation will not go home to research a couple of words he said in the sermon to learn more…
Heck, that statement I’m discussing may be so broad it may not even hold the power of conviction for the average believer.
Yet, when we dissect why the world is upside down, we enter a room full of a collective of rusty people who are being sentenced for their multitude of sins. These people are contemplating the gravity now of why they are so off the mark. They are beginning to consider the time and destination of when they got derailed. When exactly was it when the world’s enticing falsehoods leaped out and attached itself to their minds; replacing God’s divine wisdom for deceit? They suddenly recognize that their interpretation of what harm in its essence really is is quite the opposite of what God intended for His children to comprehend and come to know.
So let’s take a quick glance of how this world views what is ‘harmful’.
Society and modern day culture equates harm with physical feeling or touch. When we think of harmful objects, we might conjure up a sharp & pointy item that if given the opportunity to make contact with our delicate skin, could possibly draw up blood. We realize the potential harm in approaching a steep cliff. Why? Well because if by some chance a whoosh of wind sweeps us off our feet and over the ledge, we’re most likely going to break a bone, shatter a rib or encounter even worse results- our casket. Doctors now-a-days force collegiate athletes to focus their attention on videos in preseason to learn of the tragedies made possible by concussions in contact sports. Athletes should be fully aware of the potentially harmful situations they are walking into by signing up to be on that team.
Stepping into a different light, let me ask you this-
When was the last time you crossed paths with a sign of some sort at the entrance to a movie theatre that read:
“Warning- Lust-Engaging Images Up Ahead”?
When was the last time you approached a door to a raging, out of control party that held up a poster saying:
“Corrupt Company- Proceed At Your Own Risk”?
When was the last time you encountered a casino with an outside projector screen with the following subtitles:
“Caution- Possible Chance Of Foolishly Giving Away What God Has So Faithfully Provided”?
Guys, the world is rusty. And when we allow its mold and rust to wear off on us, inlets of compromise in our faith develop. We adopt a rusty, upside down theory that harm is dominantly physical- only that which beats down on our outer figure.
I hate to break it to yah’ but its not. These bodies we live in are temporary cocoons we encase ourselves in until the day our spirit breaks forth out of them like butterflies; springing into what it truly means to be alive. That blooming day of departing such a world filled with corruption, greed, selfishness, sorrow and pain is the same day we meet our Maker. The same day the One who created us in the first place becomes the Judge of whether we were faithful servants or diverted rebels (Psalm 25:8 “God is fair & just”.)
And so, what matters according to the Word of God is as I’ve blogged many a time before: the condition of our heart. Our state of comprehension of the price Jesus paid for our sin to be forgotten before the throne of the Father. Our response to trials and tests. Our level of desire to know the One who gave us breath; who gave us life. Our priorities and how they reveal themselves through our life decisions. Our craving for selfless service. Our boldness & anticipation to share with the world that there is Hope that began in a stable and conquered death on a tree.
This is all reflective of our spirit.
The thing that surpasses death when we’re placed in the ground. This is what matters. This is what we must protect from harm.
Matthew 19:21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
1 Peter 1:24 “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth.”
Genesis 3:19 “till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
2 Samuel 14:14 “For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.”
John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.”
These passages of scripture tell of how our physical bodies & lives on earth are so miniscule compared to what our spirits will come upon some day when we are called to our real home; a paradise full of rooms prepared in advance for those whose names are written in the Book of Life (John 14:2; Luke 10:20). Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
By being unsure of the head count of how many days any of us have left here, each day must be so carefully edged and curved by our fingerprints. What I mean by that is that everything we touch, everything we allow through our ears, everything we allow our eyes to gaze upon and so on must be prayerfully considered beforehand. May I encourage you to place your concentration on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8). Meditation on these things will surely keep us from harm I can assure you via prayer and asking God for strength and focus.
The closer we draw to our God, the more He not only reveals to us where we fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23) but also where the world surrounding us, captained by none other than our enemy Lucifer, also falls short. Followers of Christ would be wise to not seclude themselves in “safe, Christian bubbles” because an understanding of the world’s downfalls can actually benefit us. To know what is going on that is unacceptable to our Lord is knowledge of what exactly to refrain from participating in or involving ourselves with.
The world is gradually eating itself from the inside out with a recipe for calamity and corruption. And why? Because simply put, it endorses sin. Always has and always will. It is why that if you’re being criticized, persecuted or called out for choosing a lifestyle that directly opposes that of the world and have collected quite the group of “haters”, you’re most likely doing something right.
Ending thought: apply your attentiveness more towards what will bring you down spiritually in damaging your soul than worrying about slipping and falling on the pavement.
Ryan Walters. ’98.6 Too Cold’ Founder, Blogger
(@waltzinthrulife– Twitter, @noahzitenation- Twitter, @nomorefenceriders- Instagram)