It's been an absolute delight having Jacob home these past several months since he graduated from college and has been waiting for the RUF internship interview. It occurred earlier this week in Dallas and he was approved on the spot. He is eager to follow God's leading as he moves into this next phase of his life, and is full of excitement and anticipation as he awaits his campus assignment in April. I am thrilled for him, of course, but I have also been preoccupied with the thought of how difficult it is going to be when he leaves again.
It's quite a different dynamic when your children are young adults and you have managed to successfully work yourself out of a job. I am enjoying it immensely. Jacob is zealous for the Lord and loves to read, so we have had some spirited and soul-satisfying conversations about God's character, the ups and downs of a life of faith, "rightly dividing the Word of truth" and how to live a practical, effective and balanced life as an apprentice of Jesus Christ.
This morning we were talking about an article a friend of his had read recently titled, "The Myth of the Extraordinary Christian."
The idea is that most of us tend to think there is such thing as a "super-Christian" and measure ourselves against that presumed and, I might add, arbitrary standard. The thinking is that the person who sacrifices his life as a missionary to China somehow operates at a higher calling or a deeper level of faith than the person who works a 40-hour a week job, attends church, and tithes to support that missionary or one like him. Or the person whom God blesses and enables to make great sums of money has again, a greater blessing from God than the person who barely scrapes by. The comparisons are endless and so is they grief they can cause.
But it's not true. We are all saved the same way--by grace. We all are delivered from the same thing--sin. We all have the same Savior--Jesus. We are all taught and led by the same source--the Holy Spirit. We are all destined for the same place--heaven.
Now it is certainly true that we have all been given different jobs to do and differing levels of responsibility. Both 1 Cor. 12:12 and following and the parable of the talents affirm this truth. Some are given more to do, some less; some jobs are more visible, some behind the scenes; some people are given more gifts and talents in order to get their job done, but that doesn't give them any greater standing or favor with God than the person whose job might require less.
We do ourselves (and I am speaking to myself here as much as anyone) a tremendous disservice by comparing ourselves to others in any way. It can suck the life-blood out of you faster than a ruptured jugular vein.
The truth is, we are all on a journey of faith, endeavoring, for the most part, to grow spiritually, to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling," to resolve recurring problems, to be led by God, to walk in greater obedience, to somehow develop the character of Christ while striving to fulfill our personal destiny so we can one day stand before our great God naked and unashamed.
Everyone who calls himself a Christian is doing these things to one degree or another on an ongoing but consistently inconsis- tent basis. And it looks different for all of us.
Some are doing it on the mission field. Some are doing it while raising a family. Some are doing it in affluance, some in poverty. Some are doing it while working a "regular" job and socking money into an IRA. Some are doing it with a king Midas touch and sowing mightily into the Kingdom. Most of us are doing it in the midst of the mundane and repetitious lives we lead.
Yet God is at work, "To will and to do (in us) according to His good pleasure." Billy Graham is no more of a super-Christian than a church secretary. Both are simply doing the job God called and equipped them to do while He is faithfully at work in them to make them more like Him.
We need to believe that. We need to give ourselves a break. We need to pray until we truly grasp the unconditional, non-com- petitive, all-encompassing, unilateral love of God.
We need to understand that we are all "in process" and anyone who looks like they are more spiritual or have it all together is either just a little further down the road we are all traveling or is just faking it better.
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