Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Paradox Principle

I've always been intrigued by the paradoxical truths of the Bible. God has an amazing way of combining ideas that don't fit together in my finite mind. God is perfectly just, yet perfectly merciful. How does that work? How is God within us yet omnipresent? How can God be in complete control of everything, yet we are free moral agents? I can't quite get my head around that one. However, the paradox principle that tops them all is "die to live."

Robert Lewis describes "die to live" as the great paradox principle in his Men's Fraternity study series. I've been through the series twice, once as part of the men's group in my church, and then in a smaller group of friends. Every man needs a group of guys with whom he can walk through the battles of life, and in my life "Men's Fraternity" filled that need during a couple of crucial "mid-life" periods. In my first entry in this DiscoverTruth blog two years ago I wrote: "Seeking truth is not a solo venture." Little did I know when I wrote that how true that statement really is!

In my short 40 years on this planet I've found relatively few close friends I could really connect with on an intimate level. Obviously, my life partner and wife is the person who knows me best. I thank God for her all the time. She makes me better and completes me where I am deficient. We are a great team. However, a guy sometimes needs other guys to process life. That is where "Men's Fraternity" and my small group within my local church filled a void in my life.

"Die to Live" was exemplified by Jesus Christ. Those who follow Christ are called to take up your cross daily which is the clarion call to "die to live." Paul elaborates on this truth with his admonishment to stop sinning in 1Corinthians 15 where he describes this as "I die daily."

Do you have other people in your life that can help you see your blind spots? I hope so. It makes a huge difference in your quality of life. Just be careful that those with whom you share life deeply have a desire for healthy relationships so that you can process life based on truth, love, and mutual encouragement.

When I started this blog, I gave my favorite concise definition of truth: conformance to reality. However, over the last two years God has expanded my view of truth. C.S. Lewis said something to the effect that the truth is so big it is hard to miss all of it. My discovery is that the truth is so big you cannot completely comprehend it without assistance. Truth is more than just properly seeing reality. When the Jewish Scriptures speak of truth, they are often referring to what we would call integrity of heart, faithfulness, and reliability of character. This is much more than conformance to reality.

I think Mart De Haan sums this up nicely:
A high view of truth rises above the foothills of facts. Wisdom reminds us that we can be right in what we say, yet be wrong in the way we say it. When the Bible asks us to walk in the truth, it is not just asking us to engage in an intellectual exercise. From Genesis to Revelation, we are asked for attitudes that are as true to God as the facts He has revealed.