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Death to My Evil Twin

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

One of the most amazing gifts God has given us humans is our mind.   The brain weighs about 3 pounds and contains around 100 billion neurons— cells that carry information.  There’s an old myth that we only use about 10 percent of our brains.  That has been debunked.  I know that must’ve been false because it seems some people don’t even use that much!  But seriously, new studies show how much of our brain we actively use varies from person to person.

I can tell you without a doubt that my mind runs 24/7 – seemingly all by itself.  And usually, off into thoughts that seem like they belong in someone else’s body.  It’s my destructive thoughts that tell me I’m not good enough.  I’m not worthy.  I’m not loved.  I will never be forgiven.  I’m ugly, fat, wrinkly, etc.  It’s like my mind gets taken over by my evil twin.

Isn’t that the battleground so many of us find ourselves on day and night?  Those anxious thoughts that keep us looking at the clock at 1am, 2am, 3am….?

Praise God that He gave us a shield and sword to fight back the beast who is really behind all those thoughts – the devil himself.

My friend Caroline gave me a great tool last year that helps me in this spiritual battle.  It’s a piece of paper with three columns.  The first column lists the destructive thought such as, “There’s nothing special about me.”  The second column speaks God’s truth against that thought with statements like, “I have been chosen/set apart by God.”  And the third column lists the shields and swords of God—related scripture.  In this example it lists Ps 139, 1 Cor. 1:30 & 6:11, Eph 1:4, and Hebrews 10:10 & 14.

This handy guide is something I can pull out whenever my evil twin brain decides to ruin my day or disrupt my sleep!  The best part?  You have the same tool at your fingertips.  The Word of God was given to us not just to learn more about Him but to help tear down those thought strongholds that want to rule our lives.  His mighty words were what Jesus Himself used when tempted by the devil.

I was recently reading in my Sparkling Gems from The Greek about the difference between using His Word as a “logos” or a “rhema.”  Logos is a “sweeping stroke.”  When we study the Bible this way we get broad and full direction for our lives.  But in Ephesians 6:17 the word “rhema” is used.  That means a sharp and fatal blow to the enemy.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (rhema) of God: Ephesians 6:17

What Paul is directing us to do is have at the ready “fighting words.”  God’s words that we can call up quickly to mind and tear apart any thoughts the devil wants to use against us.  And we can use those words knowing the power and authority that lay behind them.  

God in His greatness knows how amazing our mind is – He created it.  He knows the power and dangers of our imagination and our thoughts.  The devil knows it too.  But with the gracious gift of the Holy Bible we can shield ourselves from the devil’s lies.


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Our Faith Progression

We, therefore, desire to copy his character and put our feet into his footprints. Be it ours to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. What saith our Lord himself? “Follow me,” and again, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Not Christ’s apostle, but Christ himself, is our guide; we may not take a secondary model, but must imitate Jesus himself. 

Charles Spurgeon
 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

Many years ago, I had the benefit of listening to a sermon series on our progression as a disciple of Christ.  I have heard many pastors say there’s too many of us Christians who seem stuck at the beginning of that progression and aren’t fully living the life Christ wants for us.

It may even come as a surprise to some that there is an expected “progression” in our faith lives.  We assumed that once we accepted Jesus as our Savior we’re done.  We are able to check off that box on the questionnaire asking what our faith is: Christian.  

"But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:16

We all have probably heard the above verse a few times in our Christian lives.  But reading the entire chapter reveals something even more.  The progression.  

"When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power." 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

The apostle Paul himself explains that when he first came to the people of Corinth He came with the first step in the progression – the message of Jesus’ love for us.  That He died for us.  He rose again for us.  Paul goes on to say:

"We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature." 1 Corinthians 2:6

The mature.  Who among your faith group would you deem “mature” in their faith?  Who among them would you deem a “baby Christian?” And where do you count yourself?  This is not asked in judgment.  All who are saved are equally loved by God.  But you can probably tell the difference between people who are further along in their faith progression and those that aren’t.  And it has nothing to do with age.  The sign of a maturing Christian is that they’ve received the gift and have actually opened the box and are using it.

So what is this progression? In the sermon series I mentioned, these steps were defined as: 

  1. Believer – Mark 9:23 
  2. Follower – Luke 9:23
  3. Apprentice – Ephesians 4:14 
  4. Learner – Philippians 4:9

Jesus Himself shows us this progression as He lived out those three world-changing years. 

  • Step 1) The Loving and Faithful Friend 
  • Step 2) The Obedient Servant
  • Step 3) The Courageous Warrior
  • Step 4) The Patient Teacher
  • Step 5) The Wise Counselor

Throughout this series, the Jesus Mindset, we will meet people – some famous and some very ordinary– who exemplify the different steps in the faith journey. And it is only correct to start with the first step.  Lest we think we have step one down pat I should warn you that so many Christians remain in step one because of the difficult truths and expectations presented.  It is the message we hear over and over in our churches.  It is the first and the last message Christ has for us, which makes it the most important of all.  

“As the Father loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.” John 15:9

When I was researching various pastors who make love and friendship a cornerstone of their message I realized I had an old friend already in my midst waiting to talk to me again.  As I perused through my Christian books I stopped on, “How Happiness Happens,” by Max Lucado.

Pastor Lucado probably needs no introduction.  He is an internationally known pastor, author, speaker and more.  He’s written too many books and articles to count.  And the theme throughout is love. How to accept Christ’s love.  And how to show love not just to our friends but to complete strangers.  He reminds us that Jesus is our loving and faithful friend and wants us to model that character trait to everyone we meet.  When you read about Pastor Lucado you see his lifelong mission is to set solidly in our hearts the message of God’s love for us.  He shows us how to translate that great gift to others.

“I’m a pastor. I can sit down with somebody who has a broken heart and love them and encourage them and remind them of how God cares. But I struggle when I look at a budget. Or I struggle when somebody says, ‘Well, what’s the long-term strategy for our church?’ Well, I don’t know. I guess we’ll see. Let’s love God, preach Jesus, and pray.”

Max Lucado on his leadership style

So much of what Pastor Lucado speaks of seems simple.  And yet, I find myself day in and day out forgetting to live out the simple messages. 

“Greet one another for your sake.  Experience the joy of showing people they matter.  Greet each other for their sake. What is small to you may be huge to them.  Most of all greet each other for Jesus’ sake.”

Max Lucado, “How Happiness Happens”

How often do we go through an entire day and find ourselves never having truly connected with another human being?

“Listen intently and praise abundantly.”

Max Lucado, “How Happiness Happens”

Isn’t that what Jesus did throughout His ministry? You can only imagine how the woman at the well in John 4:1-26 felt when Jesus was with her.  He wasn’t looking over her shoulder at a bird or cute dog while she spoke.  He wasn’t thinking about the next town He was to visit or His next meal.  He saw her.  He listened to her.  He loved her even when she pushed Him away.

It’s definitely easier to live out the Jesus Mindset of being a loving and faithful friend with people we choose to be around.  We pick our friends and we even pick who in our family we spend more time with.  We are deliberate with whom we ask to go to lunch at work.  But Jesus loved the unlovable.  He touched the untouchable.  

“You wonder why God doesn’t remove the enemies in your life? Perhaps because he wants you to love like he loves. Anyone can love a friend, but only a few can love an enemy.”

Max Lucado

Isn’t this where so many of us get stuck?  We count ourselves, “good people” or “good Christians” and yet we harbor, at best unforgiveness, and at worst hatred for people.  

I grew up in a household where unforgiveness and hatred ran deep.  I had a parent who judged harshly and never forgave. People and places got etched into stone on “The List.”  That was my touchstone, my guidebook.  So when I started hearing the message of God’s love, faithfulness and forgiveness it was difficult to accept.  The first step was to believe God felt that way toward me.  And to be honest, I find myself frequently falling backward into not returning those gifts to others.  

The lessons and examples from Pastor Lucado are great every day reminders on living out Jesus’ request of us to love one another.

“God is love” (1 John 4:16). One word into the passage reveals the supreme surprise of God’s love—it has nothing to do with you. Some people love you because of you. Not God – He loves you because He is He.  

Max Lucado

Isn’t that amazing? Wouldn’t you agree that most of the people in your life love you because of who you are to them? A daughter or son, a wife or husband, a longtime friend with similar interests, and so on. We may even find ourselves saying we love a person who is related to us but we don’t like them very much. It’s all conditional. But God loves us because He is love. Let’s not just gloss over that. Take a moment to really let it sink in. He is the definition of love. Like a cloud of love envelopes us and snuggles us wherever we go!

I saw a picture the other day of a woman at the store who had created a contraption designed to keep people six feet away from her. It involved a hula hoop, straps, signs, warning reflectors and more. When I saw this I thought, “that’s the exact opposite message of Jesus.” His cloud of love surrounding us is more like a fog bank — it pulls others in and seeps into everything. It quiets the world around us.

Today, when you go out into the world, picture your God cloud swirling around you. It’s beautiful and inviting. Its little tendrils reach out and wrap around others you meet. Invite them in with a smile, a greeting, a shrug of forgiveness. With each act of love we a do a bit of cloud seeding — leaving a piece of Jesus to grow.


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35,000 Decisions

…yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 
Habakkuk 3:18

According to Psychology Today we make an average of 35,000 decisions each day.  That’s about 2,000 decisions per waking hour.  I remember when I was working as a public relations and marketing executive at a mid-sized company.  At the end of each day I felt exhausted.  I couldn’t even think about what to make for dinner.  I realized at some point I had decision-making fatigue.

So many of our decisions are ones we don’t really think much about – if we are going to get up and go to work, if we are going to brush our teeth before leaving the house, if we are going to get dressed.  We just sort of do them out of habit or necessity.  

But what about our faith lives?  How many of us have, along our journey, made the decision to fade away from our faith?  Not realizing we’ve made a decision to shut out God.  For some people, because of issues at their church or maybe a difficult time in their life they actually made a conscious decision to completely turn away.

There are basically three types of people shown in the Bible.  First there is the nonspiritual person who has not accepted God at all.  Second there is the person who has accepted Jesus as their savior but still lives by the world’s expectations. And third is what is considered a “mature believer.”  This person learns to do the will of God no matter how he/she feels or how difficult it is.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  
1 Corinthians 13:11

This is where the term “baby Christian” arises.  It’s the second type person described.  Picture how a baby lives its life.  Crying and throwing a tantrum when things get uncomfortable.  Babies are very self-focused people.  They don’t care if you haven’t slept all night or exhausted from a long day at work.  They want, they need, they demand.  If they don’t get it, they aren’t happy.  They live off feelings and wants and needs.  It may sound harsh, but how many of us are living our Christian lives this way?

No matter what level we are on, we should want to grow , but if we find we are still in the baby stage of Christianity, we should certainly make a commitment to God to start working with His Holy Spirit toward maturity.  

Joyce Meyer, Change Your Words, Change Your Life

That’s why I like the verse from Habakkuk today.  Prior to verse 18 the prophet lists all the things that are going wrong – the fig tree isn’t budding, there’s no grapes, the olive crop is failing, and there’s no livestock.  Yet he will rejoice.  

Great faith is maturing faith. Great faith is growing faith. And great faith is becoming stronger and great faith is standing on the truth of the Word of God. Not feelings, not other people’s opinions, not the past, great faith stands on the truth of the Word of God. Here’s what God is saying. And the focus is on God. Great faith is always focused on God. 

Charles Stanley

And growing faith means choosing to be faithful. We humans don’t tend to like to be the cause of our problems. We want our lack of commitment to God to be about something that happened to us, an absence of the right feelings, or because of the world’s demands. But it’s really about where we have placed so many of our 35,000 decisions. In how many of them did we even consider God’s desires for us?

When you feel like quitting or running away, remember that you can’t run away from your troubles and you can’t run away from yourself. The solution is not running away; it’s running to. It’s running to the throne of grace and finding grace to help in time of need.

Warren W. Wiersbe, Prayer, Praise & Promises: A Daily Walk Through the Psalms

Take the time today to consider your decision making and how it relates to your commitment to God.  Sometimes we are tasked to just decide to run to Him – not waiting for a feeling or some grand emotion to well up inside us.  If we can make the decision to get up and go to work today or the decision to do the laundry or get the kids off to school we can make the decision to open our Bible. We can make the decision to have a conversation with Jesus. 

Most of the 35,000 decisions we make today will be for the world of the flesh.  How many can we carve out to be the ones that matter for all of eternity?

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Unity Strengthens

Be on your guard; stand firm in the 
faith; be courageous; be strong. 
1 Cor 16:13

Isn’t it just like us humans, when dealing with multiple leaders, to try and take sides?  Whether it be a job, a volunteer position, in our families, a group of friends, or at our churches so many of us seek to align ourselves with the best and strongest.  If you’ve ever watched an episode of Survivor, you’ll see how drawn we are to this concept.  But alliances and divisions lead to others being on the “out” and others being “in.”   And so often if our seeking of alliances has anything to do with our church it only serves to erode our faith. 

We see behavior that is ungodly.  We, ourselves, take to gossip or manipulation.  We celebrate the uplifted position of who we follow and revel in the failures of the “other side.”  All along its our own relationship with Christ that is suffering. 

When Paul wrote this letter, he was working with the up and coming faith leader Apollos.  Within the Corinth church people had created a division amongst the two men.  Who was the better leader to follow?  It doesn’t appear that Apollos had anything to do with the strife taking place.  In fact, Apollos seemed to try and head off any favoritism issues by telling Paul he wasn’t ready to return to Corinth.  

In Jesus’ world everyone has the opportunity to be “in.” And as Christians, we are to fight against our tendencies to divide and conquer.  We are to be always “on our guard” when we see these types of rifts arise around us.  It takes courage to stand up to gossipers and the pull of others to align ourselves with the “right people.”  It is faith-strengthening whenever we turn our backs on how the world wants us to act and turn toward how Jesus expects us to act.

A church I was at for almost 20 years was ruined by this type of behavior.  It was reduced to almost ashes by people gathering up others to “their side.”  And it’s sad to say it started within the pastoral and elder level.  What we needed were a few courageous and strong faithful Christians to speak the truth and say “enough is enough.”  The destruction of many people’s faith was truly one of the most disturbing things I have witnessed in a church.

“And yet, what are some Churches but semi-religious clubs, mere conventions of people gathered together? They have not in them that holy soul which is the essence of unity.”

Charles Spurgeon

We can’t take a stand for our faith if we aren’t willing to step outside of our worldly, envious, fearful ways.  When we go along and try to play the game of “who’s the best” and then try to align ourselves with them we fall prey to the devil’s divisiveness.

But when we stand firm in our faith and are courageous against those who wish to divide, God stands beside us cheering us on.  And our faith is reignited when we walk with closely Him.

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Truth + Love

Life Lesson # 6: Truth and love must go hand in hand in our lives

If anyone comes to you and does 
not bring this teaching, do not 
take them into your house or welcome 
them. Anyone who welcomes them 
shares in their wicked work. 
2 John 10-11

Throughout the text in these five smallest books in the Bible I keep hearing the lessons about facing sin and specifically facing false teachers.  It’s a topic that makes many of us uncomfortable.  We’ve come to be a Christian world that has accepted the idea of “get alongism.”  If we hear a fellow Christian professing wrong doctrine or openly sinning, we feel so uncomfortable questioning them.  Unless, of course, we take to social media and all kid gloves fall off.  Our inner Pharisee then rears its ugly turban sheltered behind an anonymous computer screen.

So, what’s the solution when a false teacher comes knocking or a Christian friend encourages us to sin alongside them?  John tells the lady of the house to not take them into our homes because doing so spreads their words and ways.  That seems a bit unkind doesn’t?  I mean, Jesus sat with sinners, didn’t he?  Ah, if only we were so strong as Jesus to withstand the wily ways of the devil. 

Bad company corrupts good character.  
1 Corinthians 15:33 

Notice the use of the word, “welcome” in our verse in 2 John today.  That implies a joyful and eager acceptance of someone.  If I invited a person whom I knew to be a false teacher into my Bible study my group would surely think I endorsed what they were teaching.  However, if I approached that same person separately, with God’s urging, and spoke the truth to them that’s a different story.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, 
we will grow to become in every 
respect the mature body of him who 
is the head, that is, Christ.
Ephesians 4:15

Truth in love.  Love with truth.  They are like twins conjoined at all major organs.  One without the other fails.   There’s a great song by For King and Country that uses the teachings from 1 Corinthians 13.

If I give to a needy soul but don’t have love then who is poor? It seems all the poverty is  found in me.  

For King & Country, Proof of Your Love

In other words, if I expose a sin in a friend, fellow Christian, pastor, etc, but do it without Jesus-type love then I am no better than the Bible’s Pharisees.  And if there was one group of people that Jesus admonished the most it was the Pharisees.

When I think of a group of self-professed, non-loving “Christians” who fall into this category I picture the faces of the Westboro Baptist church.  For those unfamiliar with this group, their targets are primarily homosexuals.  On the face of their mission, they want to tell people of the dangers of this sin.  They have been known to attend and protest at the funerals of gay young men who have been brutally murdered.  They harass their families and friends.  I would hope that we can all agree this method of “preaching” will not convert one single soul to Jesus.  There may be some Biblical truth in their message.  But their hate-filled voices are completely void of love.  These are the folks we should not “welcome” into our homes, rather meet them outside the gates and share the message of truth surrounded with love.  They are the “almost rights” which are therefore always wrong.

And what of love without truth?

“Ships are safer in harbors.  But ships are made for the stormy seas.”

Vance Havner

Meaning when we Christians fall into the false teaching of “Jesus wants us to just love everyone no matter what” or we slap the “coexist” sticker on our car, we water down our God-ordained separateness from the world.  We become just another person on the street trying not to upset anyone.  We join the club of “I’m ok you’re ok” and the sword of the spirit becomes as dull as a plastic knife. We allow, even welcome, the darkness to enter our homes because we are afraid to be seen as judgmental, rude or just plain weird.

“When we seek only to love but never proclaim a better way, we short-circuit God’s plan.  As believers in Christ, we need to be known for both truth and love.”  

Matt Brown, Truth Plus Love — the Jesus Way to Influence

We are warned throughout the New Testament of false prophets and false teachers using all manner of evil to lead the faithful astray.

But there were also false prophets 
among the people, just as there will 
be false teachers among you. They 
will secretly introduce destructive 
heresies, even denying the sovereign 
Lord who bought them—bringing swift 
destruction on themselves. Many will 
follow their depraved conduct and 
will bring the way of truth into 
disrepute. In their greed these 
teachers will exploit you with 
fabricated stories.
2 Peter 1-3 

When we fear “rocking the boat” and don’t rely on the Lord to help us speak truth to these situations we have separated those conjoined twins – truth and love.

“To pursue union at the expense of truth is treason to the Lord Jesus.”

Charles Spurgeon

There are few lessons I have taken as much to heart as this concept of conjoined truth and love.  It guides my fervor to be tempered with compassion.  It helps me to stand up for God when I fear recrimination.  It has led me to draw Jesus-centered lines in the sand.  And it has released me from guilt for positions I take because I know I have done so in love.  This lesson has brought me to a good place in my relationship with my parents – something I had failed to do on my own.

Our faith is not intended to be a private matter.  Yes, we work out our sanctification one-on-one with God.  But our obedience in faith is what sets us apart from this world.  And when we step out our doors we need to be armed with truth plus love and love plus truth. 

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Hanging By A Thread

Can a mother forget the baby 
at her breast and have no compassion 
on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will 
not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on 
the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
Isaiah 49:15-16

I just was having a bad day.  Nothing really seemed to fall into place.  My husband got some bad news from work which makes me worry about him and our financial situation.  And then we decided to go get my car washed.  My husband was vacuuming the back of my hatchback.  I decided to walk around the back in order to reach the passenger front window.  Unbeknownst to me he had pushed the button to close the hatch as he walked away.  I walked square into the corner of the door with the top of my head.  My husband was completely unaware as he was now on the opposite side of the car.  I bent over holding my head trying to 1) not cry like a baby and 2) stay conscious. 

I cried out to him like a mewling lamb.  My first reaction was to blame him and then I apologized, saying it was just an accident.  But that was the last straw for me that day.  I  wanted to sit down and sob.  It has taken so much out of me to stay in tune with God during the trials and tribulations of the Covid pandemic that I just wanted to give up.  No more joyful grasping for God.  No more peace resting in His Word.  I just was done.  

Come to me, all you who 
are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

And God whispered to me, “I’m still here. And I still love you.  And I know you are having a hard time.  Come and talk to me.”  

I still find it so hard to pray when I’m truly struggling.  But God is so compassionate to us.  He knows when we are holding on by a thread.  He will take even the tiniest snippets of prayer from us to help us hold on.  Like the mother in the Isaiah verse today, He longs to hold us in His arms if we would just run to him – or even crawl.  

The process of sanctification this year made me realize quickly that I was shrinking away from not only God but my husband at that painful moment.  I didn’t want to burden my husband any more than he already was. But after a little while, I shared with him how I was feeling.  I know it’s hard for men to see their beloved wives in pain and not be able to fix our ills.  But he gave me what I needed — a listening and compassionate ear, and a hug.  

That’s what God wants to do for us too.  Although we shouldn’t turn our prayer time into a litany of complaints, we should bring him our pain.  

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, 
holy and dearly loved, clothe 
yourselves with compassion, 
kindness, humility, gentleness 
and patience.
Colossians 3:12

I like this visual of clothing ourselves.  The fruits of the spirit are God’s way of giving us that spiritual hug and listening ear.  He is compassionate, kind, gentle and patient with us.  And Jesus was certainly humble.  When we encase our minds and hearts in these gifts and then turn those fruit outward toward God’s people, we get them back tenfold. 

My husband is a godly man.  Because of this, God used him to give me the compassion and gentleness I needed that day.  And I was able to pull myself back on track. 

I could have easily given in to my despair.  I mean my head was killing me and felt like I had a concussion.  Nothing I could do would fix any problem around me.  But I have learned to grab hold of the promises of God for my rescue. 

Be on your guard; stand firm 
in the faith; be courageous; 
be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13

My head still hurts a few days later but I can almost (almost) laugh about it now.  I’m glad I don’t have to keep apologizing to anyone for losing it – since I pulled back my anger almost immediately.  My husband felt bad enough as it was.  And my compassion toward him helped me to stay in line with God’s Word.

I thank God for His promise to never forget me, always hold me tightly and guide me with the fruits of His spirit. 


Join me starting January 11 for my next series! Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help create a vision of you! The words we speak and think and pray have a great impact on our life. We will embark on a journey of praying changes into our lives. New Year’s resolutions have nothing on what God can accomplish when we ask for miracles to transform us!

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Amazed by Ordinary

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

“When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue,and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked.“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” Matthew 13:53-58

At first glance, these verses seem like just another story of Jesus teaching in a synagogue, healing the sick, and amazing those around Him with His wisdom and power. Yet, what amazed the crowds in this story the most about Jesus is just how ordinary he was. 

Jesus is teaching in his hometown of Nazareth. Here, the people watched Him grow up; they knew him as a small boy. They knew of his humble carpenter background, that his family was not from riches, and that his brothers and sisters were also just that – ordinary. They couldn’t believe that someone who looked just like them could speak of such wisdom and perform such miracles.  

Jesus’ humble arrival on earth, first in a manger then as a carpenter and soon on a donkey, was all intentional. As Paul writes to the church in Corinth: 

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29

God uses people just like you and me – ordinary people – as lights in this darkened world. He used His son as the ultimate example of what is looks like to be an ordinary person (though we know he was far from ordinary), who can also bring great glory to God while being rejected, persecuted, and cast out. People like Paul, Timothy, Titus, John– the list goes on — are all examples of God using the foolish to shame the wise. 

“After all, the thing that looks most ordinary might be the thing that leads you to victory.” 

Matt Haig, The Midnight Library

I often struggle with “imposter syndrome.” I tend to think that I just got lucky with jobs, opportunities and such and find it hard to believe I really deserve the things in my life. I often live in fear of being “found out.” What if I’m not the professional they expected me to be? What if I’m not the Christian they thought I was? While there are many complexities to these thoughts, the biggest aspect is that I struggle to believe that God really trusts me with His Word and the responsibility of sharing it and shepherding others. 

The amazing part? We can find freedom from the lies that tell us we aren’t good enough or don’t deserve to be a part God’s chosen people BECAUSE God calls the ordinary. We must always remember this: He qualifies the called, not calls the qualified

So today, I encourage you to stand amazed by God’s grace towards ordinary people like you and me. Let us be astonished that our God is near to the lowly, sees the weak, and cares for the ordinary.