Nine Paradoxes of Christian Living

In everything give thanks;

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

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  • While prosperity is generally seen to be advantageous, an Indiana Professor offers interesting insights into situations where prosperity is spiritually “dangerous”.    While stress isn’t something that you usually see as beneficial, an Oregon Ministry leader eloquently offers several scenarios where ‘God uses stress for our good’.

Put another way:

  • All that glitters isn’t gold.

  • Setbacks may be setting you up for greater things later.

  • God’s hand may make a situation’s true impact for you quite different than it initially seems.

Can Prosperity be ‘Dangerous’?

Dr. Matthew S. Harmon has, since 2006, served as Professor of New Testament Studies at Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary.    In “The Dangers of Prosperity”, he sets forth four ways that a Christian enjoying a prosperous outcome may be in spiritual ‘danger’, namely:

  • Our hearts become more enamored with what God has given us than God himself.”

  • We let our guard down against the enemy

  • We conclude that our prosperity/abundance is the result of our godliness”

  • Our trust/confidence is placed in what we possess rather than who possesses us”

Stress: It does a Christian good?

In “How God Uses Stress for Our Good and His Glory”, Randy Alcorn (Eternal Perspective Ministries) offers five (5) ways Christians can face stress which is ‘good and glorious’, not bad.    Such ‘bad is really good’ paradoxes are, I’d say, somewhat more intuitive than the ‘good is really bad’ paradoxes.  

Alcorn feels that God uses stress to:

  • Get our attention

  • Help us redefine or rediscover our priorities

  • Draw us to Himself

  • Discipline us

  • Strengthen our faith

Christian Living  . . . with His Help

  • Check out both the Biblestudytools.com articles highlighted in this post – to see how Matt Harmon and Randy Alcorn describe these paradoxes.   I feel their insights are on target and great food for thought.

  • When you think you’re ‘sitting pretty’, you may be.    However, in spiritual ‘prosperous-but-dangerous’ situations, you will need to draw on your relationship with Christ – to keep an unpleasant turn of events from impacting you adversely.   Why?    In your moment of victory, your enemies may be emboldened to ‘take you on’.    Worse, you may allow God’s role in your life to change in a way that isn’t pleasing to Him.    Moreover, in such situations, Christians can become overconfident in Self and their perceived godliness; neither of these ‘spiritual states’ are going to make the Lord happy.

  • When you’re fretting about a storm, keep in mind WHOSE you are – and what critical lessons may be gleaned from your current challenges.    Why?    If you don’t, the Lord may make you ‘take the course all over again’.    As Alcorn states in his piece, it is in these times that we can grow closer to Christ.    Unsaved, unchurched believers may have an epiphany which causes them to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.    Saved, abiding Christians may draw even closer to God – as they address and ‘destress’ (with His help) the situation at hand.

In a nutshell, enjoy all your blessings and endure all your stressful moments.    But be ready for an odd turn which requires your full faith and God’s intervention.    Don’t be too giddy about the good or too bothered by the bad!    Guess what faithful Christians?    Even if things take an unexpected turn, God’s got your back.    That’s what I call Divine Assurance!  

Do you have a Christian Living paradox, beyond the 9 featured in this post, that you’d like to share?    Feel free to leave a comment.    To God be the Glory.  

Grace, mercy, and peace to You!

Greg Silverthorne

66 Assurance Way

Photo credit:  Marilylle Soveran/Flickr CC

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One thought on “Nine Paradoxes of Christian Living

  1. Reblogged this on 66 Assurance Way and commented:

    As I mused on those of you who have had a CHALLENGING year (including me frankly), and who feel you have nothing to be thankful for, this post came to mind. In adversity, afflictions, and stress, Christians can often find a hidden ‘blessing’ or benefit that at first eludes them. If you’ve had a very Prosperous and Stress-free year, God bless you. If not, please trust God hasn’t forgotten you! Greg

    Like

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