Writing in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis offers perspective on the paradoxical nature of faith in Jesus:

There is a paradox. As long as Dick does not turn to God, he thinks his niceness is his own, and just as long as he thinks that, it is not his own. It is when Dick realizes that his niceness is not his own but a gift from God, and when he offers it back to God – it is just then that it begins to be really his own… The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God. What we try to keep for ourselves is just what we are sure to lose.

 New Christian believers can be forgiven for struggling to fully grasp the paradoxical nature of the faith.

For example, Jesus tells us the last shall be first (Matthew 20:16), that to be weak is to be strong (2 Cor. 12:10), to give is to actually receive (Acts 20:35), and perhaps most importantly, if you’re goal is to save your life, you’ll actually lose it, whereas if you’re willing to lose it, you’ll save it (Mark 8:35).

Once we embrace and make a habit of this countercultural thinking, it’s remarkable how often we see manifestations of the secular world championing one thing and getting the exact opposite.

Case in point: Highly rated school, colleges and universities deliver knowledge — but not necessarily wisdom.

It’s easier than ever to earn money — but not gain true and lasting wealth.

There’s more unrestrained sex — and yet more divorce, disgust and depression.

Thanks to the explosion of the internet, smartphones and satellite television, we’re more informed than ever before — but so many are still unaware regarding what really matters in life.

Social media connects family and friends more easily and cheaper — but the scourge of loneliness is higher than ever before.

Inventions and technology have made us more physically comfortable — and yet discontent is skyrocketing.

Medicine and miraculous surgical breakthroughs are practically doubling every year — and yet obesity and addictive behaviors paralyze a record number of people.

We have more security – at airports, schools, and shopping malls — and yet anxiety rises exponentially every year.

The politically correct will say we’re more tolerant — and yet Christians are less accepted.

The promises of social, spiritual, and sexual liberation have ensnared and enslaved.

Wise is the Christian content to live counterculturally. It’s almost as if the apostle Paul was looking down the corridor of time when he wrote to believer in Corinth:

We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute (1 Cor. 4:10).

It’s the way it’s always been – and always will be until Christ returns and “makes all things new” (Rev. 21:5).