The gospel calls for an upside-down way of living. What does this mean?


Photo by Diana Vargas on Unsplash

Jesus tells us in Mark 10:45 that He came to serve, not to be served, and give His life as a ransom for many. In Luke 19:10, He tells us that He is the King who became a servant. Elsewhere, in Matthew Jesus tells us that His kingdom is for the down-and-out, rather than the up-and-coming (Matthew 19:30).

What is he referring to? This way of living is often described as the “upside-down” aspect of believing in the gospel. Here are some examples:

  • Though Jesus was rich, for our sake He became poor.
  • Though Jesus was a king, He served others.
  • Though Jesus was great, He intentionally condescended to the world in becoming a servant.
  • Though Jesus was and is the King of the universe, He defeats sin not by power and might, but through His sacrificial death.
  • Jesus won by losing everything.

What does this mean for the believer in Jesus? It means, among the myriad behavioral changes, that a believer…

  • Should seek to be a servant to all, as Jesus was to us.
  • Should not tout racial, class, or socioeconomic superiority.
  • Should find their identity in Jesus’ perspective, not the world’s.
  • Should see citizenship in heaven, not the number of dollars in a bank account, as the ultimate worth.
  • Should understand that the way of Jesus is sacrifice, humility, and love.
  • Should live for the fame of Jesus, not recognition from the world.

In 2019, I want to be more intentional in living “upside-down.” My prayer is that as a result of being accepted by God on account of Jesus, I’ll find more and more delight in representing Jesus to my bride, my kids, my family, my friends, my church, my neighbors, and anyone else God brings into my life. The life and ethic of Jesus are powerful, transformative, and infectious.

This post was inspired by Keller’s words in his book Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City


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