When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
Most of us feel ordinary and many of us made it through the education system without covering ourselves in academic glory or even fulfilling our potential before life got complicated and we had to leave schooling behind.
Our culture and media are crammed full of the "special" people and every week, the latest celebs are thrown at us or lottery winners are cracking open the champagne. Little girls grow up dreaming of becoming the wives or girlfriends of footballers or pop stars. We are in danger of always wanting something for nothing without working to achieve anything.
In reality, many of us are aware of our own ordinariness, caught up in the struggles of our daily grind to pay the bills. Modern life is very busy and we feel the pressure of it all. So where does God fit into all of this?
We have to ensure that spiritually, we're not expecting something for nothing. It's easy to seek after spiritual "experiences" and become spiritual tourists, going from event to event in the hope that God would make an impact on our lives whilst also feeling that our own ordinariness somehow prevents us from making a true impact on the world around us.
But, let's remind ourselves that the first disciples called by Jesus were ordinary uneducated men. And yet they were so stirred by the gospel that they took the message and courageously shared it even when it was dangerous to do so. Even when the culture around them tried to silence them, they continued to speak out.
But it wasn't some flimsy spiritual experience that provided the backbone for their courage, it was something much simpler than that. Disciples like Peter and John had "been with Jesus". And that was worth more than anything else. We are ordinary people wanting to make an impact on the world around us and there is only one way.
We have to spend time with Jesus. Not in a big crowd of a worship service but intimately with him, drawing aside quietly to do so. It was the times spent walking and talking with Jesus intimately that created the character and determination in those disciples that helped them speak out boldly. It was the quiet conversations with Jesus that set up everything for them to realise what was important when the time came.
In the end, it's the time that we spend alone with Jesus that really counts and makes a difference. Jesus himself drew aside to be with his Father and we really need to do the same. There is nothing better than drawing on Jesus intimately day by day in the quiet and then living out a real faith in our busy, pressured lives where people can spot that above everything else, we've been with Jesus.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
Freelance Broadcaster and Journalist
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