Galatians 2:20 (ESV)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
So many Christians it seems are content to just get by in their Christian life. They ask Jesus into their life, they go to church, they learn a few hymns and read the Bible occasionally, but they never really amount to anything in the Kingdom of God. They are content to be average.
The average Australian man is 36 yo, 178 cm tall and weighs 85kg. He has 2 kids and earns $65,000 a year. His life expectancy is 81.5, women get 4 years more, are 14cm shorter and weigh only 68kg. Statistics can tell you a lot of things, but it cannot tell you who will become great, who will impact the lives of others or who will lay down their life for someone they love.
The average Christian over 35-40 years will attend 1600 church services, hear 1600 sermons, sing more than 20,000 worship songs and lead zero people to faith in Christ.
But average is where many Christians aim, and they hit it! They are content to be ordinary, to live what they think is an adequate Christian life.
They believe that if they go to church, read their Bible occasionally, and say their prayers once in a while, they will be all right with God. Occasionally, they may be inspired to go above and beyond their normal routine and volunteer to serve others as an usher, a member of a church committee, or even go on a short-term mission trip.
So many Christians, especially after the disruption of COVID, are simply going through the motions of being “good Christians.” They do not enjoy the power, the fullness, peace, and joy that should come with the abundant life Jesus promised.
John 10:10 (ESV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Eventually, this ordinary, average Christian life they are living becomes a burden and does not comfort them when the storms of adversity assail. There’s a disconnect between what we say we believe and what we actually experience. Why are so many Christians content to be ordinary?
1. WE GET FOCUSSED ON THE WRONG THING
So many Christians are simply focussed on the wrong thing. They are chasing the right career, the right business, the right partner, the right kids, the right church. They concentrate on getting, getting money, houses, hobbies or any number of things except Christ.
Let me ask you, what are you focussed on? Here’s a hint… What do you think about most? Do you spend more time or invest more energy into business, money, home making, even leisure that you invest into reading the Bible, coming to church and prayer. Your time and heads pace is a good indicator of your focus.
Matthew 6:32-33 (ESV)
For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
2. WE GET DISTRACTED
Another reason our Christian lives are ordinary is that we get distracted. We start well, the seed of an extraordinary life is sown, but as Jesus explains in the parable of the sower, we get distracted by worldly things which choke life and fruitfulness.
Matthew 13:22 (ESV)
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
When I came to Christ I wanted to do something great, something world changing for Him. I was so young, so full of enthusiasm and drive, but then came starting a career, business, homes, family. None of these are bad, but I noticed they pressured me to take my eyes of Christ. God has shown me that if I seek Him I can serve Him better, and live a more extraordinary life to boot.
Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
3. WE GET FOOLED
1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
The devil knows he has lost your soul to heaven, so the next best thing is to stunt your effectiveness as a servant of God. He uses deceit, lies, distractions, pain, and especially fear to blunt your service for Jesus. He is actively trying to bring you down.
We have to be vigilant. Sober minded means calm and collected in spirit. Watchful means staying awake, being aware.
Look at your life right now. Are you being fooled by the enemy, hoodwinked by Satan? Are you being sold the lie that your business or house or car or family or anything else is more important that your life in Christ?
Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last… CT Studd.
4. WE GET WEARY
So often we serve the Lord, we focus on Him, we desire to live an extraordinary life for Him, but we just get weary. This is huge for me, and for many of us. Paul said,
Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
It’s not about how you start the Christian race, it’s about how you finish. If you grow weary and fail, you slip back into ordinariness.
Folks, we need to be continually inspired towards love and good works. We need to hold fast to the Word of the Lord and wait on Him. He promises..
Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
So how do we guard against becoming weary and discouraged? The answer is one simple word… Fellowship.
Fellowship with yourself, take a break, have a few days away and recharge the batteries.
Fellowship with God, quiet times, reading the Bible, worshipping Him
Fellowship with friends, have a few laughs, go out to dinner, watch a fun movies, play some crazy game like bananagrams.
Fellowship with believers. Church needs to be something that builds us up and replenishes us when we get weary. You can be a Christian and not go to church, just like you can be married and not live together, but it’s not the norm. Most Christians who are not linked with a church family achieve little if anything for God.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Ignite is a great place to open opportunities for fellowshipping with believers, serving the Lord and replenishing your reserves so you can soar with the Eagles, even if you have to deal with turkeys in your life.
JESUS NEVER CALLED US TO BE AVERAGE
Life and life to the full is not ordinary, mundane existence! I cannot believe that God called you to become an boring also-ran when Paul says
Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith
God has been showing me that if I aim at nothing, I’ll hit it every time. But if I aim at the moon, I might miss but hit a star.
The world constantly tells you to live a life of your own value and worth, but they define value and worth in cars, houses, stocks, jobs and appliances. None of these have any value in eternity. You can be less than average in society, but full of value and worth in eternity, because your value is not in what you do but in who you are. You are a saved, redeemed sinner, set free from sin and death by His grace, and set on fire to impact the world by His Spirit! You are of value regardless of what you do.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
We could stay right there, valued by useless. But why should we be content with being average, garden variety Christians? Why should we be happy with an ordinary life? I might sound like an infomercial, but wait, I believe there is more!
Ephesians 3:20 (ESV)
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
That’s not a mundane, average verse! God can and will give us not just the ordinary, not even abundance, but far more, exceedingly abundantly beyond all we could ask or think. The secret is in seeking Him first, not seeking the others things. We must seek God’s face, not just His hand.
The great news is that, when we honestly seek the Lord with all our heart, He promises that He will live in us by His Spirit. Christianity is not about living our best for God; it is about dying to self and about Christ living His best in us. Our great weakness in serving Christ is self confidence. The choice is simple: either we deny self or we deny Christ.
Psalms 37:4 (ESV)
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
HOW TO LIVE AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE
As believers, we should desire a life that’s beyond average. But too often we settle for a life that’s “just okay” instead of extraordinary. I guarantee you that right now there are people here who are settling for being ordinary. Settling for what is safe, what is comfortable or what is familiar, not what is right or what is extraordinary.
We shouldn’t settle for a good marriage when we could have a great marriage. We shouldn’t settle for an average Christian walk when would could affect the world around us for Jesus, please our Father in Heaven and build gold silver and costly stones instead of wood hay and straw.
You see, we can settle for mediocrity with mundane jobs and minimal ministries – or we can take action to escape apathy and live life in ways that are beyond our wildest imaginations.
You don’t have to be talented or smart or good looking or gifted to be extraordinary. I can think of many people with those characteristics amounting to zero in God’s Kingdom. It is not about your ability, it’s about your availability!
So how do we become more active, passionate, and joyful followers of Jesus Christ? How do we ramp up our Christian life to serious put a dent in eternity?
Are you even available for God to use?
Here’s three virtues that will help you move your life beyond average to Holy Spirit led awesomeness, and an extraordinary life…
1. CHOOSE TO BE OBEDIENT
Every day we face a choice… Obedience to Christ, or our own desires. So how do you know what you need to obey God about? Reading His Word draws you to Him, and allows the Holy Spirit to speak to you. He speaks through His Word.
Remember what Jesus said? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience to God and His Word will move you from apathy to action!
We’re commanded to be witnesses, faithful worshipers, and prayer warriors; to give generously to the work of Christ; and to love God’s Word. We’re commanded to live holy lives for Christ (not just happy, but holy). Are you living in obedience to God’s instructions?
God has placed you where you are to be a witness for Him. When you’re obedient to God in everything you do, He’ll use you in powerful, meaningful ways for His Kingdom.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV)
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,
Obeying Christ is life and life to the full, both for you, and for your wife or husband, and your kids, and their kids, and those around you. Blessings and cursing,
Life and death… Now choose extraordinary life!
2. CHOOSE TO BE DILIGENT
Choose to be diligent in serving God wholeheartedly.
Romans 12:11 (ESV)
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Frankly, some Christians are slothful, slack and apathetic, which is being pathetic and having an app for that! Christians should not be apathetic, because the world is watching you, at school, at the shops, at work or in the home. Apathy is the enemy of extraordinary.
We may have found a cure for most evils; but we have found no remedy for the worst of them all, the apathy of human beings. – Helen Keller
Christians should be relied upon as being diligent, resourceful people, not those who squeak by doing the bare minimum. We should in all areas be excellent.
Matthew 5:16 (ESV)
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
People are watching not what you say, but your deeds, what you do. If you long to live and extraordinary life, be diligent
2 Peter 1:10 (ESV)
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
3. CHOOSE TO BE RESILIENT
Which means, keep going. There are times in life that it all just seems to be too much, we are overwhelmed, we are weary and down and despondent. I’ve been right there this week, so have many of you. But whatever happens to you, I’m speaking prophetically to someone here today, I implore you in the Lord, keep going. If you’re walking through he shadow of death, don’t stop, don’t camp there, don’t set up your life there, keep on going!
I want to have resilient faith that remains constant and unmoved against all odds, because people are dying, people are broken, and we’ve been called to help.
Proverbs 21:21 (ESV)
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honour.
Pursue is the Hebrew RADAP, which means pursue, chase after or run after. It means to chase down. And the one who pursues righteousness and kindness, who pursues God and His Kingdom, they chase it down and pay any cost, and they never give up!
YOU CAN CHOOSE THE LIFE YOU LIVE
You have the power this very day to choose the life you want to live. You can choose an ordinary, mundane, just squeaking by existence, or you can choose an extraordinary life, and life to the full.
As you choose to keep pursuing true obedience, tenacious diligence, and tough resilience, you’ll go from living an ordinary life to living an extraordinary life that will impact the people around you – and the world!
Every great life lived for Jesus Christ and impacting the world for God starts with a choice. I choose not to be average,I choose not to be ordinary. I choose abundant life, I choose Jesus and I choose to be obedient to Him and live an extraordinary life.
Many people believe that the key to living the Christian life starts with pious acts, but they are wrong. It really begins with a deep, intimate relationship with Him.
God did not create you to live a marginal Christian life characterised by chores and rituals. He desires to have a daily relationship with you where you experience His presence and trust Him for wisdom, courage, and strength in all situations.
With every step you take, decision you make, conversation you have, and thought you entertain, the Lord wants to glorify Himself through you. He desires to shine in your life—with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control illuminating your unique talents, traits, and personality as you walk in obedience to Him.
People think that Jesus Christ came to earth to make bad men good. He didn’t. He came to make dead men live! That’s why Paul writes,
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All it takes is a choice. I can’t live a victorious life, you can’t live a victorious life, only Jesus can, by His Spirit within us. He lives life to the full, but only when we choose to give Him our life. Choose now whom you will serve! The church, the world, religion or Jesus Christ. Choose an extraordinary life that both you and your descendent might live!
In other words, to live an extraordinary Christian life is to allow Jesus to live in and through you. Your old self dies, and your new self is handed to Him. That is why Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20).
This morning I’m asking you to choose. If you choose to be ordinary and average, you front up and tell the Lord right now. But if you choose to become all He desires for you, if you choose extraordinary life and ministry, tell Him now. If that’s you, you’re in the right place!