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December 31, 2015

Radical, revolutionary, world-changing, daring, amazing, influential, epic. Some popular authors and speakers have described the Christian life using terms more reminiscent of movie reviews than apostolic epistles. Calls to live undaunted, culture shaking Christian lives resonate with the longing of many believers to do something grand for the cause of Christ. Whether they be expendable or radical, every new generation desires to do that which will go down in the pages of history. The stories of men like Jim Elliott and David Brainerd capture the attention and stir this secret longing for greatness in the work of the Lord. Every generation has a few individuals who go down in the annals of history because of their sacrifice, courage or influence. The vast majority of Christians will never be considered among the great ones. They will plod along through regular lives and will die unnoticed by anyone outside a small handful of close friends and family.

Mundane does not have the same stirring tone as radical. Epic creates a longing that prosaic never can rouse. We all want to be something more. In the Christian’s life, more is not found by being radical. More is found by being faithful. New Testament Christianity is expressed by simple obedience all through the mundane affairs of life. “Be ye kind to one another” is not a command focused on how to treat refugees, or a guiding principle for journeying to an isolated Asian tribe. “Be ye kind” is a command for daily interactions with one another. Reflect on the many commands giving to believers in the New Testament. How many of those commands are ones to sell everything and move to a foreign country to live out the gospel? The overwhelming majority of the commands in the New Testament reflect the daily routines of life. Treat your spouse well, obey your parents, do good work, honor and obey the government, be hospitable, live a quiet and peaceful life. These are not radical, subversive actions. These are not things that will prompt a biography of your life or bring fame to your doorstep. The majority of the commands to the Christian are obeyed in the day to day routines of life. Kindness that is only expressed towards someone on the other side of the globe is not kindness. Love that is only shown towards distant villages is not love. Kindness is kind to your next door neighbor, the guy bagging groceries and the person who just cut you off in traffic. Love is shown to those people you see every single day: your children, your wife, and your fellow workers.

God is not necessarily commanding us to go out and do dramatic deeds to change the world for Him. He has commanded every Christian to faithfulness. I remember hearing a preacher proclaim “I would rather burn out than rust out.” Some may be called to go out in a blaze of glory, but most are called to wear out in steadfast faithfulness. Instead of being Nascar engines pushed to the limit for a few hundred miles, most Christians are called to be Japanese 4 cylinder motors that faithfully keep going for a few hundred thousand miles. Biblical Christianity is expressed in the dozens of little things that happen over and over again every day. God has not called His servants to be radical, just faithful. Such Christianity may rightly be called “Mere Christianity” but it is far from insignificant.

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