But somewhere along the way we’ve convinced ourselves that a good and faithful life takes shape in some extravagant display of radical living. We start thinking, “If I really take Jesus seriously I need to move to a nation hostile to Christianity, adopt a child from overseas, choose a life of celibacy, write a best-selling book etc.” None of those choices/circumstances are wrong, they just aren’t ultimate. They aren’t the standard to which we, as people who love Jesus, ought to hold our lives up to.
Instead, we hold our lives up next to Jesus — imitating him, listening to his words, letting him direct us towards the life he has purposed for us. So many of us are going to lead lives that will receive no standing ovation from the world. And that’s a great thing.
Faithful living is not elaborate or fancy, it’s by nature — quite the opposite. It’s stubbornly moving towards the same goal, day after day, hour to hour. Every person I have talked with whose walk with God I desire to emulate, teach me that faith is a million little decisions you make every moment of every day that are influenced by a common belief: God is real and trustworthy and bigger.
God is real — His existence ought to change the way we see our own.
God is trustworthy — All the promises He says in the Bible, will be fulfilled. Regardless of what the current state of the world leads us to believe.
God is bigger — Nothing is too difficult for Him, but not everything He does or does not do will make sense to us. He is always bigger than the boxes we make for Him.
A few months ago I sat on the couch with a woman who is so familiar with faith playing out in the ordinary. She lives a normal life, raising her kids and loving her husband and spending her days basically up to her ears in the nitty-gritty of life – laundry, bills, soccer games, all while battling a sickness that has pushed her into new depths of dependence on God.
As we tucked our slippered feet under the couch cushions and cradled our mugs of steaming hot coffee, I asked her a million things. We talked about marriage, careers, sex, parenting, vacations. We just talked about life. And I realized as I sat across from this woman that she was a difference-maker and a world-changer in her sphere of influence. She was not looking for fame or applause or approval from a sea of faceless people she’s never met. She was consistently looking to Jesus and it filled me just up to be near her.
Her faithfulness to show up and do it all again and believe it all again, even when no one was watching — THAT is the stuff that changes people and communities and churches.
It all starts with surrender. Every good and faithful life is born out of a genuine desire to submit to the will of God. In my experience, whenever I do this I almost inevitably end up connecting with people. In fact, whenever I give Him free reign over my day or week or season of life — He runs with it. He runs straight to people and says, “This. This is where I want you.”
It’s almost like he meant what he said when he tells us to love our neighbors. Imagine that.
When you lay your life at the feet of Jesus, the most difficult thing He’s going to ask you to do is trust Him with it. Wherever you are, in whatever season or storm, you cannot lose by surrendering to Jesus.
Instead of trying to make your life measure up alongside of anybody else’s, live your own. Give it a rest. Put down the measuring stick and run with endurance the race that was set before you. Cheer on those whom you see doing the same thing. Let’s arrive together at the throne of grace and just dump all of our wild misconceptions about what a good and faithful life “should” be and start trusting that the Author of our faith knows what that looks like way better than we ever will.