When I was a college freshman, I did not follow Jesus. I did however attend a private Christian University. As a commuter, I attended chapel services because everything else closed down on campus. It was in chapel that I heard the gospel presented by Dr. Tony Evans. The second most important thing I heard was an African-American lady sing, “Ordinary People.”
Humility is a primary value of Jesus’ Kingdom.
As I understand the Bible, there is a simple pattern of how we are to live: putting off and putting on. Paul says it like this, put off the old self and put on the new one (see Ephesians 4:20-24). He also says to put off falsehood and put on truth (see Ephesians 4:25).
Jesus taught this same pattern in multiple ways. He said that a seed must die if it is going to produce fruit (see John 12:24). He also said that we must lose our lives if we are going to gain eternal life (see John 12:25). He stated it even more clearly when He said if you want to be great, you have to be a servant (see Matthew 20:26). It is all wrapped up in the idea that you cannot put new wine in old wineskins (see Mark 2:22). We have to put off the world’s ways and put on God’s ways.
This call to put off has been a sticking point for many people. It is hard to let go of our paradigms, our traditions, our opinions and our pride. But if we are going to enjoy the Kingdom of Jesus, we have to set aside the thinking and behaviors of this world and learn new patterns of thought and actions.
Jesus is the author and perfecter of the human experience. He created us and He lived this life perfectly. When He tells us to do something or think a certain way, He is not trying to control us. He is giving us the secret to navigating the human experience to the fullest.
Pride gets in our way. We want to hold on instead of put off. We want to stay the same rather than put on something new. We like to think we are the exception. We say, “Well that sounds good, but in my experience…” or “I hear You, but you don’t understand…”
When we believe that we are special, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. We are valuable because of God’s love for us, but we are just ordinary people who need to be forgiven and transformed.
To help us think correctly, we like to say,
“We are ordinary people seeing God do extraordinary things as we follow Jesus and invite others to come along!”
The gospel is good news! It is good news about God inviting us into a greater story. His story where He is rescuing us from the chaos and returning us to His kingdom where He abundanlty meets all our needs. The good news isn’t that we will live forever. The good news is that we will live forever with Jesus in His kingdom. Now that is EXTRAORDINARY!