When the way down is really the way up
From Letters of Paul: 30-Day Bible Study
Jesus turns the world’s values upside down. In His kingdom, those the world calls wise are really foolish. Those we see as rich are often poor. Those who are powerful by corporate standards are often weak, and those who see freedom as doing whatever they want end up enslaved.
Jesus’ call to lay down our lives and serve one another strikes directly at social norms — for Timothy’s church and us. Giving your life to Jesus means life is not about you. It’s about Jesus.
Paul reminds Timothy to instruct new believers not to use their power or influence to take advantage of others or get ahead in this life. Instead, serve others because that’s how you "store up treasures in heaven."
If your boss is a believer, don’t use your equal status in God’s family to ignore his authority, but see it as a reason to serve him (1 Timothy 6:1-2). Be content. Don’t chase the temporary and empty joys the world offers (1 Timothy 6:9-10).
What we gain in relationship with Jesus is greater than anything we give up.
We are defined not by what we have or don’t have, but by what we willingly give up for Jesus. The rich are those who take hold of the fullness of life in Christ, those who are generous and do good.
Living in an upside-down reality can be exhausting. At times, what we do won’t make sense to those around us, and we’ll need to pour our hearts out to God like David does Psalm 26.
"Vindicate me, O Lord,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering" (Psalm 26:1).
The fullness of life that comes from faith in Christ — righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness — doesn’t make sense to the world but always leaves us on level ground (1 Timothy 6:12 and Psalm 26:12).
- What’s one thing that Jesus calls us to that you find particularly difficult?
- What is one good gift that could come from doing things Jesus’ way?