Romans 12:3 – Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. (NIV)
The title for this devotional might seem strange. I believe, however, that we can occasionally use a reminder to be ordinary. That's not so easy, after all. The soul instinctively craves to rise above ordinariness, lest we merge into a meaningless void — and nobody notices. It's no wonder that the world is so captivated by the lure to be more than just ordinary — to be special in some way or other.
There are pitfalls in striving to rise above ordinariness. It makes us competitive, proud, condescending of others, frustrated with ourselves. We'll resist advice, assuming that we're above that. We'll get offended when others criticize us or fail to affirm our "specialness". To be sure, it's a problem of pride.
Jesus could spot this addiction to extraordinariness, and He noted that "They love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues." (Matthew 23:6 NIV)
If we are truly God's children, then we've been saved from the nagging need to convince either ourselves or others that we are more than ordinary. Instead, we rest by faith in our extraordinary God.
The humility of considering ourselves to be ordinary is to be authentic both to ourselves and to God. Romans 12:3 says essentially that: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." (NIV)
Accepting our ordinariness is the fruit of spiritual maturity. It is the outcome of God's refining fire burning the dross of our stubborn pride. It may involve times when we find ourselves unceremoniously demoted. God does not shield His loved ones from the distress of humiliation — for our own good. "Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place." (Luke 14:9b NIV)
God's discipline is painful at times. But it's all worth it. It's liberating! We are free from endless striving to be more than we are. We are free to be blessed and enriched by ordinary people doing ordinary things. We are free to erupt in spontaneous gratitude for the ordinary stuff of life. We are free from the treadmill of relentless busyness — freed to enjoy the ordinary passing moments.
That's how it is to be ordinary. It's peaceful! It's gratifying! That's when extraordinary discoveries are made — about life, about God, about others, and about the world. That's when extraordinary creativity is birthed. That's when extraordinary contributions are made to humanity, like a small gesture of love which speaks volumes — and most notably, the glorious message of redemption. It all happens through people who are content to be ordinary.
Prayer: Dear Father, we just want to be ordinary children in Your kingdom. Help us to appreciate Your fatherly discipline whittling away pride and anything else that restrains us from being authentically and beautifully ordinary. It's all for Your glory. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "The Lord's My Shepherd" (Lyrics)