Jesus offers us the opportunity to live right side up in an upside-down world

Ray King  ·  Jun 22, 2021

In Acts 17:1-9, we read about Paul the Apostle and Silas taking the message about Jesus to Thessalonica in Asia Minor. When many Jewish men, a great many of the God-fearing Greeks, and “not a few” of the leading women believed their message, the Jewish leaders became jealous of their influence. So they found some wicked men, formed a mob, and set the city in an uproar, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also ...”

The rioters actually had it backwards. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Their world was already upside down, and the message about Jesus offered them an opportunity to live in it right side up. Today, we also are surrounded by people trapped in a world system that is upside down, and, like Paul and Silas, we need to bring them Jesus’ right-side-up message.

In Colossians 2:8, Paul warns about human teachings, traditions, and philosophies all around us that do not come from Christ. These may come from our training and education, our family and religious habits, our friends, and the surrounding culture. They can deceive us and even take us captive. Things that we may be sure are essential to success can actually keep us from trusting what Jesus says. We may be afraid that what He says “just won’t work” for the problem we are facing.

When faced with new ideas or practices, or generally accepted ones that are different from Jesus’ teaching, we are promised that He will give us wisdom when we seek Him (James 1:5). We are promised that He will provide a way of escape from temptation to disobey (1 Corinthians 10:13). Our heavenly Father sent the Helper, the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name to teach us all things and bring to our remembrance all that He has said to us (John 14:26). We must be careful to listen, depending on Him.

What does Jesus’ Right-Side-Up Kingdom look like? The Bible is filled with teachings to help us know, and frequently it is different than what our human wisdom tells us. Obeying His teachings will result in a life that is more right side up for everyone who listens—not only for individuals, but for organizations, for both believers and unbelievers.

Examples of Jesus’ Kingdom teachings are found throughout Scripture. Here are a few He gave from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7:

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (5:44).
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them (6:1).
Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, but in heaven (6:19-20).
Do not be anxious about your life (6:25) or about tomorrow (6:34).
Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (6:33).
The measure you use to judge others will be the measure that is used to judge you (7:2).
Take the log out of your own eye, so you can see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (7:5).
Whatever you wish that others would do for you, do also for them (7:12).
The gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction. The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life. Take the hard way (7:13-14).

Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24). Our success personally and as a ministry as followers of Jesus Christ will be determined by our willingness and our resolve to remain in Jesus’ Right-Side-Up Kingdom, depending on Him for wisdom and strength. We must choose the narrow way that leads to life.