In second grade, my teacher sent a note home to my parents letting them know that she saw me squinting in class, and that maybe an appointment with an optometrist would be in order.
I discreetly read the note, confused the word squinting with squatting, and was completely mortified that everyone in class had probably seen my Carebears underwear. I didn’t know what an optometrist was, but I knew I didn’t want to find out.
I decided not to give the note to my parents.
The next day I went to school (wearing pants), and when my class was dismissed for recess, I stayed back to let my teacher know that my parents read the note, that they were very disappointed in me and that I was not allowed to wear skirts to school anymore.
I remember the look on her face. She just sat there, staring at me with a strange look. In my head, I thought it was going really well, but quickly realized it was the worst evil scheme ever when she asked me for my home number. I thought about lying and saying my mom and dad were both very sick and couldn’t talk on the phone, but what was the point?
She called, and for whatever reason didn’t tell my parents I lied. After she got off the phone, she cleared up my confusion between “squinting” and “squatting”, and explained to me that she sent the note home with me because she wanted to help me, not get me in trouble.
I went to the eye doctor, and about a week later, I was wearing a pair of large, plastic, pink glasses…they matched my grandmothers.
I loved my teacher, but those glasses instantly branded me as a nerd, and I couldn’t help but be a little resentful of her when the other kids made fun of me. Nevermind that I could now see more than 5 feet in front of me, if she just hadn’t said anything, I wouldn’t be wearing these grandma glasses, and nobody would call me four-eyes!
Sometimes this is the same way I feel about God. I love Him, but at times it feels like living according to His will instantly makes me different from the people around me. And even though I know that God knows best, I can’t help but think of how it’s all affecting ME.
And therein lies the problem. Summed up in one word: me.
Too many of us believe the lie that the Christian life is all about us. We assume we are living the normal Christian life if we attend church a couple times a week, listen to Christian music, and avoid sin as much as possible. But Christian life is so much more than an obligation to some moral standards or squeezing in some Christian activity into our self-centered lives.
“The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus Christ, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you – your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything – then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it.” – Ian Thomas
Jesus Christ said, “…Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34). The word deny here literally translates, “to forget oneself, lose sight of oneself and one’s own interests.”
Normal Christianity is self-denial and self-sacrifice. It’s completely forgetting about our own interests, and willingly and joyfully pouring our lives out for God’s glory. We are called to do far more than most of us could ever imagine. To go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. To seek and save the lost. To be His hands and feet here on earth. To give up our very lives for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we exchange the comfortable, for the extreme and difficult.
Normal Christianity instantly makes us different from the world around us.
It isn’t about keeping up with the Christian standard all around us, but about complete obedience to God. Itʼs about laying down selfish pursuits and becoming consumed with serving and loving the Lord. It looks different for every person, but in every case, there is fruit.
No matter where you are today, Christ has placed a high calling on your life. Get away and be alone with God, pour your life out before Him. Allow Him to reveal to you the selfish areas in your life, and let Him cleanse you and rebuild these areas. Exchange your right to live a comfortable life for the privilege to be able to say that you emptied yourself here on earth for His sake.
“whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35)