Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
Lately I’ve been amazed by how many people seem content to settle for an ordinary life. A line from a popular Switchfoot song has been echoing in my head: “We were made to live for so much more…have we lost ourselves?”
This widespread acceptance of mediocrity is especially sad in light of the fact that it takes so very little to be above average…to be extra-ordinary.
Jesus pointed this out when He said, “Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two” (Matthew 5:41). You see, it was common for Roman soldiers to force people to carry their gear for a mile. But Jesus said His followers should do even MORE than what was expected of them—not the bare minimum.
Are you that kind of person, seeking to be extra-ordinary in every situation and relationship? Or do you only do what is required of you—what you must do to “get by”?
- It’s ordinary to get to work on time…but extra-ordinary to arrive a little early and leave a little late.
- It’s ordinary to meet your deadlines…but extra-ordinary to beat your deadlines.
- It’s ordinary to try to fulfill people’s expectations…but extra-ordinary to do more than they expect.
- It’s ordinary to treat people like they treat you…but extra-ordinary to treat others better than they’ve treated you (Matthew 5:46-47, 7:12).
How does this principle apply to YOU? Have you settled for ordinary, when extra-ordinary is so clearly within your reach? Or perhaps you haven’t even been going the “first mile,” let alone the second.
If we’ve truly given our heart to Christ, living an ordinary life in inexcusable. After all, He now lives in us through the power of His Spirit (Romans 8:11, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 1:27). From start to finish, the Christian life is meant to be a SUPERNATURAL life. So how could we ever allow it to become merely ordinary, no different from those who have no relationship at all with the Lord?
Another fascinating component of this is found in Acts 19:11: “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul.” I don’t know many American believers today who are performing even ordinary miracles, do you? Yet this verse says the miracles done through Paul were extra-ordinary—above and beyond the fruit of the Spirit and the supernatural manifestations expected of average followers of Jesus (e.g., Galatians 5:22-23, Mark 16:17-18, 1 Corinthians 12).
Maybe you think I’m being rather harsh, setting the standard too high. But if we sincerely compare our present lives to the extra-ordinary Christian life depicted in Scripture, won’t we conclude that the opposite is true? Haven’t we been guilty of lowering the bar instead of setting our sights too high?
Instead of blaming me for bringing up this uncomfortable issue, I encourage you to spend some time asking God how it applies to you. Are there a few simple changes that would take your life from ordinary to extra-ordinary?