In a world where right-side up means to step on others to get ahead, we need to live upside-down.
In a world where right-side up means to use every dollar made for our own security and pleasures we need to live upside-down.
In a world where right-side up means that beauty is defined by clothing, weight, skin, and a hundred other demands, we need to live upside-down.
In a country where the freedom and independence are the loftiest ideals that one can hope to attain, we need to live upside-down. (Thanks to Scott who preached well on this a few weeks ago. You can watch and listen here.)
You see where I’m going with this now, but here’s the thing: living upside-down isn’t just about selflessness. That’s a HUGE part of it, perhaps the biggest. But there’s another vitally important aspect. Goodness. You see, we’ve been tricked-whether by our nationalistic culture or by the Evil One himself I do not know. We, as Christians, have been dupped into the belief that abstaining from sin is equivalent to goodness. From a young age our parents tell us to “be good” when they actually mean: “don’t be bad.” We do our Christian lives the same way. We’ve become lazy do-nothingers.
In Galatians 5:22, “goodness” is listed as a fruit of living by the Spirit. English is terrible. There are many different words in Greek that we translate as good or goodness. In this passage, “goodness” comes from the root-word ἀγαθός (agathos)- meaning an intrinsic, inherent goodness, or the very goodness that comes from God Himself. It implies ACTION! Or when you hear the phrase “God is good,” do you just mean “God is not bad?” NO! You think of God at work doing good for His people!
Being a follower naturally implies movement in the direction of the leader. I want to be a Jesus-follower, not a Jesus-idealist, because Jesus is on the move!
Watch this inspiring video of a couple of guys living upside-down:
Yes, selflessness keeps us from hurting other people for our own gain. Selflessness keeps us from hoarding our possessions, calling people mean names, etc. But it is GOODNESS that enables us to live in His upside-down Kingdom!
We need to live upside-down because Jesus lived upside-down. One of the things I like most about Jesus is his ability to turn the common worldview on it’s head. Luke 6, Jesus’ “Sermon on the Plain” is full of this. He inspired others to live upside-down with him. After colliding with Jesus, wealthy Zaccheus gave away all his wealth to those he spent his career neglecting. After colliding with Jesus, Saul changed from a life of persecuting others to being persecuted for the Savior. After colliding with resurrected Jesus, Peter changed from self-preservation to wreckless abandon for the Gospel.
Two weeks after the close of VBS (my busiest time of the year), I am still buzzing with these examples of why God graciously led me to be a Children’s Minister. Children are the BEST at living upside-down!
These are some examples of just a few of our children following Jesus with action! (Left: a brother and sister selling their own toys and books to raise money for victims of the earthquakes in Nepal. Right: two sisters selling snacks and drinks and collecting donations for the same purpose.) In fact, in the months of May and June, the Ridge Kids are responsible for raising $2,089.40 (and thanks to a generous anonymous donor after VBS, an additional $1,605.78 for a total of almost $3,700!).
Perhaps this is why, in yet another upside-down statement, Jesus says: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 18:2-4.
May God bless you as you live “good-ly” in His upside-down Kingdom.