But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19:30)
Inversion is defined as “a reversal of position, order, form or relationship.”
The kingdom of God is at once entrenched in culture while also being counter to it. Jesus could say that Christians are to be “in the world but not of the world.” We must fully engage culture while at the same time being counter-cultural. Instead of an invasion, we are called to stage a great inversion. The revolution of God—the big idea that Jesus came to bring to the world—is that we are called to live an inverted life. This is vital to understanding such scriptures as 2 Corinthians 6:9-10, the last being first, the “in crowd” being really the ones on the outs.
As the definition of inversion implies, it is a reversal of position, order, form or relationship. Those who thought they were really close to God were the ones in the most danger of a broken relationship with Him. Those who were marginalized and viewed as far from God were actually very close to the heart of God.
I wonder if those of us who think we have a corner on the Bible market, who use all the right Christian jargon and keep ourselves sufficiently separate from all of the marginalized—or simply those who don’t share exactly the same beliefs—could fall under the same indictment today. Many of us live in this Christian bubble that we believe is rising gently toward heaven and closer to God. I am afraid that maybe God is wanting to burst our bubble and force us back into the world to establish relationship with those of different beliefs, economic status and religious backgrounds.
You can compare Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians with many of Solomon’s statements in Ecclesiastes to see vivid examples of the great inversion. King Solomon “denied himself nothing,” attained much riches and many women, and concluded that it was all like “chasing after the wind” and “meaningless.” He had it all, but according to his own admission had nothing. In direct opposition, Paul at times had nothing, but possessed it all. That’s the great inversion. When we try to serve ourselves and gain strictly for personal advancement, we find ourselves lacking everything. But when we give up ourselves and serve others, we find we possess everything.
By living this type of counter-cultural or intuitive lifestyle, we actually become culturally relevant. We become a great option to the hurry, “get ahead at any cost,” selfish lifestyle that is common in society today.
I don’t believe God is calling us to a great invasion where we barge in on the world and proclaim their damnation. But He is calling us to a great inversion where we live selflessly and serve our way into the world presenting a different and more fulfilling way to live life.
Dear Lord, show me how to live a life that is counter to the culture. Teach me to find ways to invert this world for your kingdom.