Sunday, July 13, 2008

Turning the World Upside Down

I came across something I thought was interesting as I was reading in Acts this week. In Acts 17, Paul and Silas visited Thessalonica after they gout out out of a Macedonian jail. Some of the Jews were converted and the Jewish leaders did not like it, so they gathered a mob, "set the city in a uproar" and took the city authorities to Jason's house where Paul and Silas were. What caught my attention was the charge they brought against them: "These who have turned the world upside down have come here, too." (Acts 17:6, KJV)

I thought about that and wondered if God expected the same of me. I mean, I'm a Christian just like Paul was. If he could turn the world upside down (his enemies' words), what does God want me to in my world?

The first thing that came to my mind was Jesus turning over the tables of the money changers upside down. "And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves." (Matt. 21:12, NASB) I don't think the Jewish leaders were saying Paul and company had literally turned the world upside down, but that was what first came to my mind. And when I thought that, I immediately thought, "I can't do that. That's not my personality, I'm not that kind of person."

I used to feel guilty for not being "that kind of person"...until I tried it on my own one time and fell flat on my face (long story...but Brad will remember it, the day we were at Chili's). When I got up off my face (figuratively), I kinda felt like God was laughing like a parent does when they don't want their kid to see them laughing, but they can't help themselves. He gently reminded me that he made me "ME" and not anybody else. He gave me my personality...all that I am AND all that I am not. He was very effective at getting my attention and reminding me to be just me...Rob.

So with all of that going through my head, I thought about the whole "turning the world upside down" thing again and God reminded me of a Scripture in Isaiah 5:20 that says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" That Scripture has always reminded me of many things in our culture today where we accept as "normal" things that are upside down from the way God intended it.

And that's when it hit me. "Wait a minute. I CAN turn my world upside down. Actually, I'm just turning it right side up again." I don't have to run around throwing tables over, standing out and being seen. I can do what is right, treat people with kindness, show God's love in real ways and tell people about His love right where I am. I can take a stand for righteousness (without screaming at those who are not) and begin to turn the world upside down (right side up) right where God has placed me.

Turning the world upside down is not always about crashing tables and being loud. Actually, Jesus only did that with religious people, and it was an isolated incident. Paul was merely sharing what he knew and what Christ had done in his life when he was accused of turning the world upside down. I can do that much.

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