This Way Up – Counterintuitive
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Usually when we come across the word “counterintuitive” it has the sense of a person doing something that not only doesn’t make sense, but has very negative consequences on their life. We would very much rather be intuitive people, doing those things which make sense and bring us the benefits in life which we want.
Reading the Bible, however, we find that when God acts in history, he is very counterintuitive by our way of thinking. Nowhere is that more noticeable than in the person of Jesus Christ. God becomes a human being and makes his entrance by being born in a stable. His first visitors are shepherds and soon after he has to run for his life to avoid being butchered by a viciously jealous King Herod. That sure isn’t the way most of us would have scripted it.
At the heart of repentance is the understanding that God is exactly right about us.
But the most frustratingly counterintuitive part of Christmas is the way God designed for us to benefit from his coming into our world. He says it in one word, “Repent!” Now we like to hear words like renew, rejuvenate, reward, but repent – that just isn’t something we like to deal with.
At the heart of repentance is the understanding that God is exactly right about us. Not only are we unable to control our lives, find a solution for death, but worst of all, we’re traitors. No, traitor is not too strong a word. We’ve betrayed God, stole his #1 place in our lives and set ourselves up as Master and King.
He alone has the right to those titles, but we’ve stolen them from him and declared, “It’s my life and I’m going to live it the way I want and nobody is going to tell me different.” Such an attitude is disastrous, but we’ve so deceived ourselves we think it’s the only way to live.
The message of Christianity is about how God rescued us from that delusion. And regardless of how counterintuitive repentance is to us, that is the place to begin in our journey back to God.
Jesus, our one and only Savior, we are not worthy of your love. We are not worthy of your goodness. We are not worthy of your blessings. But forgive our sins, not because we deserve it but because you are a merciful Savior who paid for our sins with your own blood. Shower your grace on us, and keep us safe.