Living in an Upside Down World - The Warrior's Journey®

Living in an Upside Down World

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4) 

Bojana Danilovic is a Serbian woman who suffers from a rare brain condition called spatial orientation phenomenon. It causes her to see everything upside down. Due to her condition she must hold books and magazines upside down in order to read them. She even turns her TV on its head in order to enjoy what she’s watching. This condition also prevents her from driving. Doctors have not yet been able to remedy her scrambled vision. All she can do is make accommodations to help her function in life. 

This has a parallel in the spiritual realm. In Acts 17:6 the opponents of Christianity accused its members of “turning the world upside down.”  Why? Because their message was contrary to everything the world stands for. They preached that the only way to be made righteous in God’s sight is to confess our sinfulness and guilt (Luke 18:13-14). They preached that we can only save our lives by losing them – i.e. by surrendering our wills, plans, and dreams to God (Matthew 16:25-27). They taught that we can only find rest by coming to Jesus and taking up His yoke of service (Matthew 11:28-30).   

The apostles preached that we can only overcome hatred with love and defeat evil by doing good to others (Romans 12:21; 13:8-10). Rather than survival of the fittest, they preached that the true survivors in God’s creation are the gentle and humble (Psalm 37:11; Matthew 5:5).  Yes, in God’s kingdom, whoever wishes to be great must be a servant, and whoever wishes to be the greatest of all must be the slave of all (Mark 10:43-45).  And they preached that fame, riches, and recognition are not to be sought in this life, but should be stored up for the life to come by serving God and humanity with pureness of heart (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18). 

All of this is completely contrary to our world. The world tells us take care of number one, to selfishly follow our dreams – no matter how impractical or self-serving they may be, to fight our way to the top, to do everything to promote ourselves and seek our own benefit above the benefit of others. But we are not turning the world upside down. It’s already in that inverted condition. Our perverse world calls the abnormal normal, it calls darkness light and light darkness, and it calls evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). This is why James tells us that “friendship with the world’s values and embrace Christ’s. 


  • As God makes us more fit for heaven, does He also make us less fit for this sinful world – in the sense that the world’s evils become more and more painful to us? 
  • But as sinners progress deeper and deeper into sin, aren’t they becoming less and less fit for heaven – and more fit for hell? 
  • Isn’t it better to suffer with Christ now and enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven? 

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