The Christian life is a paradox.
Practice good deeds. (Titus 2:14)
Not to gain something, but rather because you have something. After all salvation is by grace, not works.
Wait, didn’t James say without works our faith is as good as dead? (James 2:17)
Herein lies the tension.
There are countless paradoxes in Christianity.
We are commanded to love.
Ok, check it off the list.
Wait a second, love because He first loved us.
Be faithful with what you have so as to earn a reward,
only we don’t give to get; we give joyfully.
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
But the harder we work at growing, the worse we do.
So don’t try harder, go back to your first love.
Work…no love…. no work… wait a second!!
Is anyone tired?
A better question might be, is anyone confused?
Life on this planet, before we get to heaven is summed up in one word.
Andy Stanley asks this question. “Is this a problem to solve or a tension to manage?” Which side of the paradox do we focus on?
All of the above scenarios are not meant to be solved, but managed. Each one can have a Bible verse attached to it.
The church throughout history has taken sides on these tensions, laying the groundwork for denominations and streams of faith. Rather than embracing both sides of the tension, they tried to solve the problem by picking one side at the expense of another.
The ultimate question to guide us is, “Who are we focusing on?”
Are we navel gazing, consumed with our own works and growth?
Are we attempting to earn the un-earnable by proving ourselves worthy of God’s love and gift of righteousness?
Are we focusing on HIm.
Trusting and resting in what has already been accomplished for us.
Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us to run the race with out eyes on Jesus.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. “
And embrace the tension.
Do you agree?
Should we embrace the tension?
What other tensions do we manage in our Christian lives?