The roots of Christianity come out of deadly adversity…the emphatic rejection of Jesus Christ demonstrated through the cross at Calvary…and not from the broad gate of Matthew 7:13…not from a peace-seeking compromise with worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…not in a coronation of the King of Isaiah 9:6…to be fully actualized in the near future at the second coming of Christ.
When Paul gives his final testimony to his fellow countrymen in Jerusalem…Paul receives a total and complete rejection as the people throw their garments and dust into the air in violent protest against Paul…saying: “Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live” (Acts 22:22).
It would unquestionably appear that there is a key element within the biblical narrative stories of faith…of death to self-direction and self-reliance in terms of pursuing the worldly conventional tenets of the American Dream…a totally unconventional strategy of application to human lives…of a seed that must fall into the ground and die (Jn. 12:24)…before springing up into a new, transformed, and totally different lifestyle from its previous life-form as a seed.
This is a concept that is universal in every God-composed adventure of faith life-script recorded in the Bible.
There are two important takeaways from this observation…central to the argument for the divine origin of the Bible and Christianity.
First, this initial and preliminary time-period of adversity that produces the outward appearance of failure and set-back in terms of worldly conventional norms…that sets aside or removes all-together the pursuit of individual success toward the popularly accepted direction of the American Dream…as will be discussed in multiple variations-on-a-theme throughout this book…would never originate out of humanistic literary fiction.
Second, only God could and would compose life-scripts that contain a specific set of events and circumstances…that correctly rearranges the vertical order of authority in the relationship…of God rightfully being above us…rather than us incorrectly and foolishly above God.
Apparently…as patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith…a large dose of adversity is the remedy to cure the malady of self-sovereignty…that will mar and block our ability to walk with God through a journey of faith.
The biblical narrative stories of faith contain the one element that would never originate out of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…the correct displacement of our ways with the higher ways and thoughts of God (Isa. 55:8-9)…of God rightfully sitting upon His throne as King…correctly positioning Himself above us…His detailed short-term and long-term plans for specific life-missions taking priority over our plans.
I did not make this up. This is what we see in the biblical narrative stories of faith.
The concept of a seed falling into the ground to die…before being able to spring up from the ground into a tree, bush, or plant that produces grains, fruits, and vegetables…as applied in unprecedented fashion to real human lives through God-composed life-scripts…having the enormous practical consequences of risk playing out in the events of our lives…is clearly and openly revealed to us in Judges 7:3.
The proper arrangement of God above us as leader and guide in our expedition through a God-composed journey of faith…is brilliantly and succinctly described in God’s instructions to Gideon…in reducing the numerical size of Gideon’s army to go out in battle against the overwhelming force of the Midianite army…producing circumstances that could end in either miraculous success…or utter catastrophe…creating a divine plan of attack that falls far outside of the imagination of Gideon…and far outside of conventional thinking:
“And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me” (Judg. 7:3).
This incredibly innovative and unconventional idea of a seed…falling into the ground to die…then springing up into life…managed entirely within a God-composed journey of faith life-script…has as one of its primary goals to reverse the vertical priority of the personal relationship…with God as leader…and us as followers.
This divine use of the negative ingredient of temporary adversity skillfully puts our worldly dreams and aspirations…conventionally based on our internal perception of our in-built, innate gifts and abilities…into the ground to die…only to spring up into new, better, and different life-missions as patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith…confirming the divine origin of these biblical narrative stories of faith…and validating the truth of the Bible and of Christianity.
No human writers could or would invent a new religion having this unique concept of a seed first needing to die in the ground…in order to rise up out of the ground in the new form of a tree, bush, or plant…bearing edible good fruit or vegetables…as part of the complex, God-composed life-scripts for human beings.
To depict God as the active agent in setting up…in the biblical narrative stories of faith…this previously unheard of and completely exclusive feature of God turning upside-down the autonomous individualism of worldly conventional thinking…placing Himself correctly in the leadership role in our lives…introducing the elements of risk and faith into our life experience…through the vehicle of a journey of faith (Heb. 11:1)…as pure inventive human literary fiction…is entirely nonsensical.
This insight into the depth of the underlying issues…and the creative artistic genius of these biblical stories…well outside of the parameters of human invented literary fiction…put a kibosh on the false assertion that the biblical narrative stories of faith are nothing more than human invented religion.
In the Sermon on the Mount…Jesus says: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33).
In Mark 8:36…Jesus says: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
God can craft people like Abraham into the father of faith, like the Hebrew foreigner Joseph into the governor in ancient Egypt, Moses the shepherd in Midian into the great deliverer of the nation of Israel out of bondage as slaves in Egypt, the young man David of lowly background into the King of Israel, Peter the fisherman into the leader of the early Christian church in Jerusalem, and the persecutor Paul into the premier Christian evangelist to the first-century Greco-Roman world…to name only a few from the Bible.
But all of the people of faith in the Bible…achieved their success not by aiming directly at the American Dream…but aiming instead at the specific goals of their God-composed mission-plans…eventually arriving at the top of the heap in terms of human achievement…but achieved by way of the cross of Christ…the Holy Spirit guided tour into the discovery of the all-truth of John 16:13.
I have seen both sides of this in my life. Most people have.
I have seen people who went straight for the money…in pursuit of wealth and all that it brings in terms of recognition, pride of accomplishment, and worldly esteem.
But these people would do anything to get ahead…cut corners illegally in terms of not following laws and regulations…lie to people…have no care whatsoever about improving operations and doing things right in order to cut costs…and despitefully use other people as means-to-an-end rather than developing healthy relationships built upon respect and the placing of value on the contributions of subordinates.
We can aim directly at obtaining wealth with the goal of actualizing the end-points of the American Dream in our lives…but even if we gain the whole world…we can lose our own soul.
Salvation and eternal life is a gift from God that is of inestimable worth…offered freely to mankind through repentance of sins and faith placed in Jesus Christ (Mt. 4:17)…and is the possession of all Spirit-born Christians past and present.
A God-composed journey of faith life-script for Christians today is also a gift from God…designed to take us through life the right way…focusing on goals and aspirations that are eternally important and of priceless value.
What is incredibly interesting here…is that the standard and traditional morals and ethics of the Christian life…transcending above and being so fundamentally different in their aim and aspirations…from worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…for twenty-plus centuries of human history now…that this would in modern-day hindsight make the sophisticated and rational case…that this deep and complex reality of the direction of where we aim our priorities and aspirations…in journeys of self or in journeys of faith…could not have originated out of worldly conventional thinking…and therefore must have a divine origin coming from the creative mind and heart of God.
From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity