When Up Means Down
Do any of you remember the “opposite game”? When I was a kid, it was one of my favorite games to play with my friends. The game was simple: we just said and did the opposite of what we were really thinking. So “yes” meant “no”; “cold” meant “hot”; and “I want to read” meant “I want to go outside and play.” It’s not an overly creative game, but for some reason, it was always fun for me because it seemed funny to do the opposite of what you really wanted to do.
What I didn’t realize way back then, is that the “opposite game” was actually very good preparation for the Christian life. As Christians, we are regularly challenged to pursue the opposite of what the world pursues - and to stay away from what the world values. In other words, we are regularly called to live out the “opposite game”.
For example, our human nature tells us that self-sufficiency is the greatest goal we can achieve. But Jesus says, “be weak, and find your strength in Me.” The world says, “trust your own ability and talents.” God says, “don’t lean on your own understanding, but trust Me to direct your paths.” Our culture tells us to value property and possessions, but Jesus reminds us that this world is not our home - and so we shouldn’t value the things of this world. What the world sees as weakness, God sees as strength. And what the world sees as freedom is actually slavery to sin - while true obedience to Christ is real freedom.
The challenge with all of this is it’s hard to live out the “opposite game”. The desire to be seen as “great” in the worlds eyes is so pervasive - invading pretty much every area of our lives. But God’s view of greatness is humility and dependence on Him, because when we are at our weakest, we find the greatest strength in the power that God provides. 2 Corinthians 12:9 makes this clear, as God tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” The key is that we have to admit our weakness, and then embrace the power that only God can give us.
So today, let’s persevere in living out the “opposite game”. Let’s surrender to God’s plans for us - and let’s commit to obedience to Him in all areas of our lives - even when doing so is the opposite of what seems to make sense to us and the world around us.