Friday, April 8, 2022

A Study in Contrasts

 We have recently welcomed the vernal (spring) equinox of 2022.  This marks the point in our year when the sun crosses the northern hemisphere, when in the journey of the earth around the sun, the northern hemisphere receives direct sunlight.  The spring equinox represents the transition from winter to spring, a most welcome contrast.  Although seasonal transitions and contrasts are not universal on our planet, I do believe that the contrast of seasons shows us something about the way the Creator likes to do things.


In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth; morning and evening; dry places and wet places.  Even the quickest perusal of creation floods our senses with contrast: mighty oak trees and delicate lilies; hot springs and cold glaciers; blue jays and cardinals; deserts and rain forests; lions and lambs.  


In His Word, God uses contrast to illustrate His truths and highlight our choices.  Moses challenged the Israelites to choose life as he set before them the blessing and the curse (Deuteronomy 11:26), life and death (Deuteronomy 30:15).  King Solomon’s Proverbs are characterized by the contrast between the upright and the wicked, the wise and the foolish, the Godly and the godless.  When the Apostle John introduces Jesus in the beginning of his Gospel, he describes Jesus as the Light that shines in the darkness (John 1:5).  The Apostle Paul uses contrast to teach the young believers in the churches under his care: We are justified by faith, not by works (Romans 3:27); believers are dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6); believers are to lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12); believers are to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit rather than manifest the deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-23) and to lay aside falsehood and speak truth (Ephesians 4:25); believers are set their minds on things above and not on the things on the earth (Colossians 3:2); we are to remember that we are call to sanctification and not for the purpose of impurity (I Thessalonians 1:7).


As bond-servants of Christ and heirs to the kingdom of God, we have an opportunity in the here and now to be light in a dark world, to answer Christ’s call to be salt in a world that needs spiritual preservation.  And in doing so, God’s way of contrast is one of our potent strategies.  When we encounter anger, we can respond in peace; when we encounter impatience, we can offer patience; when we encounter discouragement and despair, we can offer the hope of the Gospel; when we encounter lies, we can communicate truth; when we encounter critical spirits and/or narrow minds, we can apply grace.  May the Holy Spirit guard and guide us as we offer ourselves to Him as He seeks to save the lost.