Jesus calls us way beyond mediocrity, yet many of us have settled for such a mundane, whimpering version of discipleship that we never experience the eye-popping, mind-stretching, and life-changing power of His Spirit within and around us.
Consumed by our circumstances and distracted by a fundamentally defeatist attitude, we have grown blind like Theoden, King of Rohan, in Lord of the Rings. Over time we have reduced Jesus to niceness and grown to assume that mediocrity is the Kingdom-norm.
We’ve been wrong—very wrong.
Ask the disciples who followed the Gospel-Jesus and participated in the Acts-church. Jesus challenged them to serve as His hands and feet—serving the hungry, poor, naked, and imprisoned (Matthew 25:31-46). He exhorted them to declare the Gospel, even when it meant opposition and imprisonment (Matthew 10:16-20).
Jesus does not propose a life of passivity and mediocrity, but a life of obedience and abundance (John 10:10). He does not invite us to comfort but to participate in something meaningful and grand beyond our imagination; God’s eternal plan of redemption.
Have we settled for mediocrity because we’ve lost sight of His call? Have we nestled into ordinariness because we’ve lost touch with His Presence and power?
The powerlessness and aimlessness of our lives speaks more about our fear and faithlessness than about the Christ who calls us.
In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, Paul details some of the hardships he endured for Jesus: hard labor, imprisonments (many times), multiple beatings, frequent death threats, lashings (at least five times), three times beaten with rods, once stoned and left for dead, three times shipwrecked, and the list continues. It’s wild and crazy stuff.
Some might wonder what Paul did wrong to deserve such constant punishment from God. Paul never wondered. He felt convinced that these “momentary and light afflictions” were producing “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Paul’s faith produced a life of drama that would make most extreme sports enthusiasts shudder, but amidst it all he knew Christ at a profoundly deep level. It’s not that we should seek danger or persecution as a badge of honor. Not at all. For Paul, these experiences arose in response to a life lived willingly at the edge—the edge of obedience and deep devotion.
Where do we live?