To receive, you need to give. To be the first, you need to be last. To become the master, you need to serve. To be exalted, you need to be humbled. To be free from injustice, you need to forgive. Submit to authorities, and submit to one another, turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile, love your enemies, bless those who persecute you… and the list goes on.
People will agree it’s a list of lofty and noble attitudes, and virtually impossible to do. Maybe because they’ve known others who ended up as doormats for abusers and manipulators, so they dismiss these noble attitudes as impractical. Jesus was probably just exaggerating and being “poetic” to get a point across, they think. And of course, He wasn’t.
But attempting to live out these attitudes in our own strength, doesn’t work. Turning the other cheek out of weakness or fear, just creates pain and humiliation. Showing compassion to aggressors without the faith to bind up their demons of violence, is just emotionalism and an invitation to get hurt. When fleshly spirituality goes wrong, as it always does, the devil laughs at our defeat to make his point that obeying God is for fools – and too many weak Christians believe him.
But God’s upside down ways are not weakness. They are acts of confidence – a defiance of the devil. They are actions of courage and warfare that work. Every one of them releases supernatural power when done in true faith, which is why they’re so important to live by, and why they are mocked by the world. The world doesn’t mind when we’re just “good people,” but it hates us when we tear down demonic strongholds by living out His principles.
Why do we always have to live so contrary to the world? Simply because the world has become so contrary to God. News headlines argue that God’s opinions are somehow “evil,” and pastors of leading denominations preach we shouldn’t take His word so seriously. It’s nothing new – even Jesus was called the prince of demons by the religious leaders of His time. That’s just one more upside down way we need to embrace: to see ourselves as “aliens in a foreign land,” and to be completely content with it.
But once living upside down becomes our way of life, it all makes complete sense. We participate in His power. We begin to reverse the work of the devil, just as Jesus did. He touched lepers, and instead of contagious diseases spreading from them to Him, the life of the Creator flowed from Him into them. As violent persecution bore down on the disciples, the fire of the Holy Spirit just exploded through them with miracles and transformed lives. As hatred tried to stamp out the Early Church, a pure love for their enemies allowed Christians to spread the gospel, even to the soldiers who imprisoned them, and their radical, upside down faith continues to impact us.
But many Christians refuse to live upside down for God. They don’t want to surrender control or feel vulnerable. They don’t want to give first, serve first, love their enemies or forgive. They hate the word submission, and will even argue loudly against it as if God was unfair. And by refusing God’s principles, they are refusing God. It’s nonsense to call Jesus Lord, if you won’t obey Him. Don’t you want to see His power flowing through you, undoing evil? Don’t you want the life of the Creator removing death and destruction? Don’t you want to see the Holy Spirit explode through you to transform lives, beginning with you? Living upside down is the only way that makes sense. Maybe you’ve never learned how to live out these principles the right way – maybe today’s the day to make that change.
But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is made desolate. And a house divided against itself falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons through Beelzebub. Now if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, no doubt the kingdom of God has come upon you. “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are peacefully kept. But when a stronger man than he attacks and overpowers him, he seizes all the armor in which the man trusted and divides his spoils. “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters. Luke 11:17-23, MEV