Right in the Eye - week 5

This is no ordinary person

Conversation point:

  • What’s at the top of your “bucket list”? Have you taken any steps to do it? Why or why not?

Why do most people believe they have to accept living an ordinary life? What would it take to be extraordinary people? By “extraordinary” we don’t mean extraordinary at something, like a skill or a talent, but an extraordinary person- an extraordinary spouse, family member, employee, or friend.

An intriguing question we rarely ask ourselves is what would an extraordinary version of me do?

Conversation point:

  • Why do most people believe they have to accept living an ordinary life? What traps people into this way of thinking?

The tension between ordinary and extraordinary living is a big part of the events in Judges. Israel had an extraordinary destiny as God’s chosen people, but they got caught up in wanting to be like everyone around them. They ended up ordinary, like everybody else.

The well known judge Gideon also suffered from ordinary thinking. In many ways Gideon was the “anti-Samson”: quiet, shy, lacking confidence. Gideon believed in God, but became an ordinary person; and it took a fascinating exchange with God to shake Gideon out of the ordinary life he had defaulted to.

At the beginning of Judges 6 we find Israel under the authority of the Midianites, crying out to the Lord for help. The Midianites had destroyed their crops, and the people were hiding in caves.

Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, courageous warrior!” And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” Then the Lord himself turned to him and said, “You have the strength. Deliver Israel from the power of the Midianites! Have I not sent you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.” Judges 6:11-15

God’s conversation with Gideon reveals two truths about living an ordinary life:

  1. Living ordinary leads to losing sight of who God made us to be. God finds Gideon hiding in a winepress, yet he refers to Gideon as “courageous warrior.” Gideon’s life did not match up to God’s intention for his life.

  2. Living ordinary leads to making excuses. Gideon was quick to point out his inferiority- the weakest one from the weakest clan. Isn't is interesting that we often view ourselves based upon other people’s view of us, and we rarely ask ourselves “what if they’re wrong?” Gideon was living an ordinary life because he started to believe what others thought about him, and what he thought about himself.

It’s dangerous to think more highly of yourself than you ought to
It’s equally as dangerous to think less of yourself than God does

At this point, if I were God, I would be tempted to say, “oh, sorry, never mind, I must be at the wrong house…” Instead, God said this:

And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6:16

God’s response to Gideon’s hesitancy- “I’m with you, will you be with Me?"

You can spend your life doing what you want, when you want, with whom you want like everybody else, but if you do, you’ll never become the best version of you. You will never be extraordinary. A relationship with God isn’t about staying out of trouble. It’s about being extraordinary. Don’t settle for ordinary. Don’t settle for what everyone else is doing.

Conversation points:

  • What area of your life would be different if you were confident God was with you, in you, and for you?
  • In what area of your life do you need to ask, “What would an extraordinary person do?” How can this group help you to answer that question?