I admit in my roughly 16 years as a Christian and 12 years as a Bible Baptist, there are still a mouthful of Biblical teachings my temporal mind has difficulty chewing. In its most recent whim, I decided to list a handful of principles and paradoxes from the Scriptures which I believe can be taken solely by faith since our limited logic can only grasp as much.
- Do not follow your heart. Guard it.
Why? Because the Bible says that it is deceitful and out of it flow the issues of life. This is very much contrary to what the world is shouting to us today. They say that in order to be happy, one must follow his heart. But the Bible warns us how our heart is “desperately wicked” and how that we, instead of being led by it, must teach our hearts to love and obey God (see the first commandment). But doesn’t this sound so anti-happiness? Well, if we dig deeper into it, the Bible doesn’t necessarily want us to suppress our happiness. Instead, it teaches us to seek real and lasting joy. In order to do that, our hearts must learn to love Christ first – as He is the One who can “complete” our joy.
[Key verses: Proverbs 4:23, Jeremiah 17:9, John 15:11]
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- Cast your bread upon the waters and you shall find it after many days.
From my understanding, this verse speaks of generosity. From childhood, we were taught how to save for the rainy days and accumulate wealth for ourselves. Well, that’s true… and practical. However, as God’s stewards of grace, we must remember that everything we possess is not ours and we ought to give and share to whomever or wherever the Lord wants us to.
[Key verses: Ecclesiastes 11:1, I Peter 4:10]
- He who loves his life shall lose it and he who hates his life shall keep it.
As human beings, it is our tendency to cling on to our dear lives. Given any fatal scenario, we will always choose what is best for our own good before the welfare of others. Perhaps, this is one of the most difficult truths to apply for us as Christians. In order to do God’s will, we must be ready to selflessly surrender our own conveniences and be living sacrifices before God – ready and meet for His use.
[Key verses: John 12:25, Romans 12:1, 2 Timothy 2:21]
- When I am weak, then I am strong.
This declaration by the Apostle Paul strongly illustrates God’s provisioning power over our fragile human existence. When we recognize how weak we are – whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually – we have to be reminded of an omniscient and omnipotent God who so eagerly works in every mundane detail of our precious lives.
[Key verses: 2 Corinthians 12:10, Isaiah, 55:8, 1 Peter 5:7]
- He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
The Lord Jesus speaks of this great paradox Himself and excellently portrayed such during His brief time here on earth. As the world constantly lures us to gain fortune and vie for power, the Bible so softly reminds us that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches us that praise for ourselves mustn’t come out of our very own lips! Why? Well, it seems that God really has some sort of irritation for the proud in heart. As the Bible says, He resists them. Instead, He gives grace to the humble.
[Key verses: Matthew 23:11, Proverbs 27:2, James 4:6]]
- Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light.
How can one rest and be burdened at the same time? Only in Christ can you find such an offer. But be careful not to make any reservations because as He promises, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Compare that to that of the world’s. Then choose wisely.
[Key verses: Matthew 11:30, John 14:27-28]
- Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things shall be added unto you.
Last but not the least, we are asked to seek God first – top and above our long priority list. Seek God first before we work, before we eat, before we worry, before our own families, and before our very selves. We are being asked to cast it all away to His care and just throw ourselves before His feet. Well, that’s not a very easy thing to do if you zoom in the application down to the minutest detail of your life – time, resources, finances, relationships? Isn’t that a little too overwhelming?
[Key verses: Matthew 6:33, I Peter 5:7]
But again, I am careful to say that all these great Biblical paradoxes were designed to really bend our minds such that we’ll have no wiser choice than to commit to all these by faith.
Take notice, however, of how each of the above truths has a corresponding promise. All these might appear overwhelming to think about at first, but as we experience each become reality in our lives, we’ll realize that we’re manifesting the victorious Christian life step-by-step.
This is why I believe that any logical opposition against adhering to these truths will certainly make us fall short of God’s clear intention for us – to be strong, grounded, mature, and fruitful Christians whom He can use by His grace and for His glory.