A Christian Paradox


Here we are confronted with one of the great paradoxes of our Christian faith. “Since…you have been raised with Christ…you have died and your life is now hidden in Christ. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (verses 1-4) Because Christ is risen, those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior, have died to the things of this world. Our gaze is toward heaven now, we are no longer held captive by the chains of the world and sin.

While all of this is true, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that there is often a vast difference between what we believe and how we actually conduct ourselves in this life. It would be wonderful, indeed, if we could have our minds focused on the “things above” in every single waking moment. Our lives, we realize, would be radically different if that were so. But God knows only too well how imperfect we are. He does not expect us to be perfect in this life, but he does expect us to try, to have the desire for it. It is our desire that he can work miracles through. He, then, will give us the necessary graces to build the habits that are consistent with one whose “life is now hidden in Christ.”

We can begin to do this by bringing more prayer into our lives. By making a habit of turning to God and “setting our minds on the things above” more and more regularly, we make ourselves open to God’s presence in all that we do. It is in this openness that God pours his infinite graces upon us. Prayer is our first duty. All things that we think, say, and do as Christians, ought to be the result of our living and active relationship with God. It is in this act of conversation with God that we are able to find both peace and wisdom. It is in this sense that we can say that we have died in Christ. It is in this that He will become the very life in us, and in all that we do.

Because Christ is risen we have died with him and been given eternal life. That eternal life begins here and now with our turning away from the false “wisdoms” of the world, and toward the things above. When we accept Christ in our lives, we have accepted both his death and his resurrection within us. We will put to death in us the false hope of finite pleasures and promises and we will arise with Christ when he appears on the Last Day.

Lord, make us strong in our desire to turn our every thought, word and deed toward the things that are above. Our deepest desire is to rise with you on the Last Day, to share in your glory. Help us in our daily efforts to be your true sons and daughter in Christ. We ask this in the most holy name of Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.
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