Jesus declared to his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him aparneomai himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 1:24)
The word traditionally translated “deny” in this verse is the Greek word transliterated “aparneomai.” It actually consists of a prefix and a root: “apo,” meaning “away from, to the farthest extent,” and “arneomai,” meaning “to contradict;” in other words, “to utterly contradict.”
Moses had stood on the mountain and cried, “Choose life!” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Jesus now stands in the desert and, in utter contradiction, cries, “Choose death!”
That’s the contradiction of God: not you contradicting God, but rather, His strict and stringent requirement that, if you would follow the Christ, you must willingly choose to contradict yourself by choosing the most utterly contradicting thing imaginable: you must choose to die. Unlike Peter, who had contradicted Jesus when He at last had spoken plainly of His Own approaching suffering and death, you must instead, willingly choose to suffer and die with Him.
Jesus’ cross might have been predicted. Yours, on the other hand, could not possibly have been. And to choose death instead of life will require, on every level, an utter contradiction of yourself.
You want to go up. He wants you to go down.
You want to rule. He wants you to serve.
You want to be first. He wants you to be last.
You want to live your best life now. He wants you to die your best death now. The cross is an invitation to suffer and die, not an invitation to prosper and live.
Everything He will ask you to believe and to do, without exception, will require on your part an utter contradiction. This is because everything that He will say to you, His disciple, will be an utter contradiction to what you naturally believe and do. And if you’re not consciously contradicting yourself, you will be, by default, unconsciously contradicting Him.
This is His new Kingdom where everything is astonishingly upside down.
This is where His strength is actually made perfect in your weakness, not your strength (2 Corinthians 12:9);
where the law is actually the strength of sin, not the strength of righteousness (1 Corinthians 15:56);
where God actually chooses only the weak and the foolish and the base, and categorically rejects the strong and the wise and the noble (1 Corinthians 1:27);
where the blessings of Jesus and His gospel actually look only like poverty of spirit, persecution, mourning, hunger and thirst for an absent righteousness, not like the blessings of Moses and the law with its prosperity and promotion (Matthew 5:3);
and where, in astonishing and utter contradiction to what you would have ever imagined, God actually justifies only the ungodly who have repented of their righteousness, not the godly who have repented of their sins. (Luke 18:9-14)
This is The Contradiction of God.