Day 22: An Ordinary Life

Day 22: An Ordinary Life

An Ordinary Life

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12. For further reflection, read Acts 11:19-29.

There is an increase in self-proclaimed social media influencers in recent years. These “influencers” oftentimes try to leverage their popularity from their followers to get free items from companies. This is usually done under the guise of promotion of said items. Popular social media apps like TikTok or Instagram has only exacerbated this issue. Add to this issue the rise of Twitch streaming, there seemed to be a huge amount of people trying to get more people to follow them.

There seems to be a drive to be as famous as possible on the internet. This has also resulted in clickbait YouTube titles, and more and more polarising views on current day topics. Outrage sells, and therefore videos have tended to be more reactionary and designed to generate outrage in the viewers. All of these are done for the purpose of getting more people to view the person’s content.

However, for most of us, we lead an ordinary life. There are some things that probably will never going to happen to us. We will most likely never be famous. For most of us, we will never make era-defining discoveries. Our lives are going to be a very ordinary life filled with regular things like paying bills, going to work, attending church, spending time with family, and enjoying entertainment.

Leading an ordinary life might sound like we will be leading an insignificant life. That cannot be further from the truth. In our passage today, Paul lays out the will of God for our lives – that we should be sanctified (v3). In other words, God’s will for us is to be more like Christ. For the Thessalonians, this means that they are to avoid sexual immorality and control their body in a holy and honourable way (v4-6).

We also read that their love for one another is so strong that Paul does not see the need to address that (v9). Paul then urges the Thessalonians to go and change the world with their love for one another… no, that is not what he says. He urges them to love one another more and more and “make it [their] ambition to lead a quiet life”, to mind their own business and work with their hands.

Does it surprise you to know that God is pleased with us when we wake up in the morning and spend our days doing our jobs with integrity? God is pleased when we do all the ordinary and mundane tasks as part of our lives faithfully unto him. As we do that, our daily lives “may win the respect of outsiders” and so that we do not depend on others. That is the ordinary Christian life.

How can we change the world in that way? One person at a time, through relationships that are built in ordinary times. That was how the early church changed the world. We often read about amazing things that the apostles did, but we often forget that the ordinary Christians still lived their ordinary lives. The extraordinary is written down precisely because it is extraordinary. There were still daily lives being lived. To give a simple example, what did you think Jesus was doing in the first 30 years of his life before the start of his ministry?

In fact, the ordinary Christian life is no longer very “ordinary” in our world today. There is so much uncertainty, chaos, breakdown in families, and corruption in every aspect of our world today. Men and women do not know how to relate to each other anymore.[1] In a world like that, a Christian who works with great integrity in their workplace, who is part of a strong loving marriage, with strong relationships with their children, and part of a larger community that loves and supports them, is incredibly attractive to the world. Witnessing and seeing that kind of ordinary Christian life on display may even prompt the question, “How do you do it?” The answer of course is, “We have been taught by God to love each other (v9), just as how God has loved us in Christ.” (cf. 1 John 4:19)

[1] An example today is the existence of apps that record sexual consent between two adults.