Friday, 1 March 2013

The Christ-Exalting Paradoxes of Life

A life devoted to making much of Christ is costly.  And the cost is both a consequence and a means of making much of him. If we do not embrace the path of joy-laden, painful love, we will waste our lives.  If we do not learn with Paul the Christ-exalting paradoxes of life, we will squander our days pursuing bubbles that burst.  He lived "as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything" (2 Corinthians 6:10). The Calvary road is costly and painful, but it is not joyless. 
When we embrace with joy the cost of following Christ, his worth will shine in the world. The cost itself will become a means of making Christ look great.  The apostle Paul had one great passion in life.  We have seen him say it several ways; to know nothing but Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2); to boast only in the cross (Galatians 6:14).
John Piper - Don't Waste Your Life - p63
People ask me sometimes why I constantly point out how hard the Christian life is suppose to be.  They think I'm like a hard core drill instructor wanting to make things as hard for them as I can.  That's not the case, it is simply that I refuse to believe this notion some churches and pastors present that receiving blessings and joy equates to finding comfort and peace.  I refuse to believe it because I don't see it in Jesus' life, or the rest of the Bible.  Our blessing is actually having a relationship with God - Jesus has blessed us with that through his grace.

But the great paradox is that though the Christian life is suppose to be hard, it also provides great joy.  People do not equate pain with joy... but Christians can!

We need to embrace the joy of the cost of following Jesus - because that is a true and pure joy that cannot be equaled.

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