Radical Inversion

Okay, so here’s a thought for the day. If we learn nothing else from the stories of Jesus’ ministry, we learn that Jesus was out to radically reorient the way we think about our religious affections towards God. Case in point: Look at one of the first things he said in his public ministry. In chapter five of Matthew (v.23-24) Jesus said that if you have something unresolved between yourself and a brother you shouldn’t bother bringing an offering to God. You should drop your offering right then and there and go be reconciled with your brother. Wow. If you really stop and think about it, that’s a radical inversion of our priorities. I’d venture to say that even after all these centuries this instruction from Jesus has never really sunk in.

Think about it for a second. What Jesus is saying here is that our relationships with one another are as essential to worship as is our actual offerings to God. While we habitually place our devotion to God on the highest level and relegate our devotion to one another on a (much) lower plane, Jesus inverts that and suggests that you should resolve your issues with those in the church before you should even consider offering your praise and adoration to the Father.

There are dozens of other places where the New Testament gives us the same inversion of priorities, but I just want to soak in this one for a while. There’s something really big being expressed here about our Father. He cares intensely about how His children get along with one another. Jesus said that the world will know that we are children of our Father because of our love for one another. And here we were, all this time, thinking that it was our devotion to God that set us apart. John’s first letter to a church is almost exclusively about this one matter: that our love for God is manifested primarily in our love for one another. If you love your Father, you love his children.

So don’t let anyone tell you that your relationships with your brothers and sisters in the church should be relegated to a place of secondary importance. That’s not how our Father sees it. He will have a house of Love. That is how we will be known. So let’s get to it.

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9 Responses to “Radical Inversion”

  1. J. Samuel Thomas Says:

    My heart resonates with this so deeply.

    When I read it I felt like jumping up and spinning around!

    Want to know what it’s like to love God?
    Love your neighbor as yourself!!!

  2. Sarah Says:

    Amen.

    And so, perhaps, our relationship with each other IS worship.

  3. Mike Morrell Says:

    This indeed makes sense. We, the household of faith, are the Body of Christ. Actually.

    And apparently our “neighbors,” who may or may not be in our local church, who may or may not be presently/consciously trusting in Christ as their Life…we are also to love them too.

    We can encounter Jesus’ face in our brothers, sisters, neighbors and strangers, ’cause Jesus Christ is becoming the All in all.

    Now that’s good news.

  4. Kim Says:

    Amen brother! This is one that I haven’t thought of. But I have made notice of lots of things that we think are correct… are actually opposite to what the Lord wants, or makes true. It’s funny that what we believe to be reality, isn’t reality. The Lord is the only true reality.

    Nice post!!

  5. Goody Says:

    Neil,
    Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for blogging this.
    Sarah’s mom

  6. Jared B. Says:

    Hello Mr. Carter. This is Jared Bullock. I was surprised to see you at the mall. I wish I could have had more time to catch up with you, but I didnt want to keep you from your family time any longer than I was already. The girl I was with is Kelsey. She is the first really cool girl I have met all year. (Cool by my…unique standards.) I hope things are going well for you. Talk to you later.

  7. Neil Says:

    Good to see you the other day, Jared. What’s your email, so I can drop you a note?

  8. Jared B. Says:

    My email is mystcprodigy@hotmail.com

    *Remember? Thats the screename that sounded cool at first but got old after two weeks…I look forward to hearing (Reading?)from you.

  9. J. Samuel Thomas Says:

    Alright. All you local brothers need to get with the program.
    Come on. At least one post per week!

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