When the Empire State Building was completed in 1931 it was the tallest building in the world with l02 stories. Soon after its completion, a lady had a desire to ride the elevator to the top. In those early days of elevator use a conductor operated it. As the elevator neared the top of the building the lady suddenly was gripped with fear and anxiety. She nervously laid her hand on the conductor’s arm and said, “Sirrrrrr, if the cable snaps, will we go up or down!” That day the conductor was a Christian and looking at the distraught lady said, “That all depends on the kind of life you have been living!”

The title to this devotional may seem confusing. But its intent is to instruct us by way of paradoxes. A paradox is an apparent contradiction that in reality may express a profound truth. The Bible contains many such mind-baffling concepts. The fact that we cannot understand them easily indicates that God’s thoughts and ways are much higher than ours.

These Scriptural paradoxes seem to defy logic, but a deeper study reveals a wonderful pattern for Christians who want to live victoriously. Here are several of them taken from the New Testament: We find rest under a yoke (Matt. 11:28-30). We are wise by being fools for Christ’s sake (1 Cor. 1:20-21). We enjoy freedom when we become His bond servants (Rom. 6:17-20). We possess all things by having nothing (2 Cor. 6:10). We are strong when we are weak (2 Cor. 12:10). We find victory by glorying in our infirmities (2 Cor. 12:5). We live by dying (John l2:24-25).

Our Savior Jesus was an humble servant. He taught his disciples not to seek the upper most seats of power. He refused to respond to a request of the mother of some of his disciples to have them sit on His left and right hand in his kingdom. He bent down and washed his disciples’ feet. He was crucified with criminals even though He had no sin.

I heard the story of the young preacher who was full of confidence as he approached the pulpit to deliver one of his first sermons. But he misquoted Scripture and lost his place in his notes and finally ran off the pulpit in total embarrassment. An older man observed, “If he would have gone up the way he came down, he could have come down the way he went up!”

The third verse in the hymn, JESUS, I MY CROSS HAVE TAKEN is as follows:

Go then earthly fame and treasure!
Come disaster scorn and shame!
In thy service pain is pleasure:
With thy favor loss is gain.

Let’s take some time to fine tune our lives by learning from the Bible’s paradoxes.

Jim Myer – CBC Executive Board