Lesson 2 – The Uncommon Life
Have you ever found yourself in a moment when life was moving in a certain direction and all seemed well. Then, out of what seems like nowhere you are left frozen by the reality of the battle that now lurks upon your life?
I think most of us have had seasons like this. Some which passed quickly and others which we wondered if they would ever end.
It is during these times that we are awakened to the truth of what is really hidden within us. Are we people who trust in our own abilities to walk us through it? Are we strong enough to endure? Are we the strong survivors that people place so much value on? Or are we truly just broken vessels that need the loving hand of a great healer to come and breathe life back into us and tell us that he is fighting this one for us? I am not sure what you find in your own heart, but I know I am the broken vessel. The longer I serve him, the more I know, I am not able to fix this life or fight these battles on my own. I need a hero and He is my hero. I need someone to step in front of me and He does. Every Time!!!
We are talking about the Uncommon Life in this study and I am personally convinced that it takes an uncommon person to really trust him to fight the battles for us.
You may ask, do you mean that I don’t even have to go out on the battlefield? There are times I certainly wish that was true, but he still does require something of us.
We can look at situation after situation in the Scripture and each time his people were called to go out to battle, they went on the field. But the amazing thing was that he had revealed a strategy & in their obedience to what he revealed, they were victorious. Look at the story in 2 Chronicles 20, when they had enemies coming at them from all sides. It was not a battle they picked, nor did they have the choice as to whether they would engage in this battle. It was thrust upon them. However, God told them, go and do what I tell you. Praise and make a lot of noise. They obeyed and he fought for them. He gave them a great victory. There is something in this. They had to surrender their own battle fighting skills and do what he told them.
All their skill and training in fighting battles would have only gotten them killed. It wasn’t about being a good fighter. It was about being a good follower. It was about doing the right thing. God’s thing. When they did, they won.
I wonder how many of the battles we fight are even battles he wants us to fight? I wonder if he is impressed with all the skill and experience we have in fighting battles? I wonder if he is impressed with how great we are at fighting battles? I really don’t wonder those things, but I do wonder if I am a good follower. I wonder how many of my battles have been his battles & how many have been mine. His are the only ones I am called to take on.
I want to live the uncommon life. I want to recognize his dealings and workings in my life. I want to battle as he leads and only as he leads. It is the only way to really win.
The trouble with battles, though, is that they are messy. They can leave you feeling dirty and your heart all shook up. How do I work through that? What do I do when the battle has me landing in the dirt? What do I do when it seems like the enemy is prevailing?
Some principles to keep in mind for the uncommon life.
1. It matters not how many times the battle has thrown me in the dirt. What matters is that I listen to him & get back up again.
It is so easy to surrender to the process and to give up and quit, but when God has led us into a moment that requires a battlefield, we cannot let the dirt of the battle or a circumstance that knocked us down keep us there.
Being in the will of God and even having God lead does not mean I am exempt from pain or from the realities of war. But it does mean, I have one stepping in front of me and walking me through every assault that comes my way. I still have to make a choice though, that choice must be to get up and get on with doing the RIGHT thing.
I cannot allow the battle to make my heart bitter, nor can I allow it as an excuse in my life to feel justified to respond to life in a way that is contrary to the nature of Christ.
Being uncommon means I get up and keep doing what he has led me to do, until he declares the battle over and the victory sure.
I have never met an uncommon person who hasn’t been knocked down by life at some point. The difference between the common and uncommon is their response to the battle. What are you going to be?
Another thing to consider when facing a battle. Often battles come as the result of life cycles. For example, if I struggle with a certain area of my life, it is not unusual that I could do well in that area for awhile and then something in my life might trigger a reoccurrence of that struggle. It can happen over and over again in our lives and thereby creating a cycle that one might find hard to break free from.
The uncommon life takes the pursuit of God seriously and believes he wants them free. They will run to him for help and choose to receive the ministry they need to shut the doors that need to be shut so that these cycles can be broken.
2. The uncommon person realizes it does not matter how long the cycles have been going on, but it does matter that we stop them.
The next thing I believe is addressed in the pursuit of being uncommon is the reality that we cannot make excuses for our character flaws.
3. Character does matter – “Everything Jesus did, everything he went through, was for something.” Susie Larson
Jesus made a way for every person who has been knocked down to get up again. He made a way for every cycle to be broken. He made a way for my character to become what will honor him. He made a way for me to become uncommon.
“Jesus led by example; He showed us how to walk, how to live, and how to love. When He was accused, He didn’t become insecure; He already knew who He was. When He was mistreated, He didn’t fight back; He saw past it. When He should have turned His back on us all, He instead prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Susie Larson
I realize battling involves many things. Sometimes, it is about what is thrown at us. Other times, it is about our responses to those very things. Yet, often it can be about the internal battle to do the right thing and to live in a way that glorifies God in all things. That is what being uncommon is about.
What kind of change could be affected in our world if we, as Christ’s followers, had lines we wouldn’t cross no matter what anyone else was doing or saying?
Imagine what that could look like. To not retaliate when wronged, to be willing to ask forgiveness even if you feel in the right, to face your personal demons and to let God arrest your heart and deal with those hidden things, to refuse to jump on the judgment wagon about another person. Just imagine how that would look, it would be uncommon, but wouldn’t it be beautiful?
I really believe with all my heart the following quote by Susie Larson and I believe it sums up the heart of all that I really want to say in this study.
“If we stay in step with our Saviour, we will know when it is time to raise our shield and draw our sword and when it is time to step back and wait, drawing from His well and being filled back up again.
For, we are not called to fight every battle
We are not called to defend every ill word spoken of us.” Susie Larson.
My prayer in this study is, “ Lord, help me make choices from a place of fullness, not emptiness. Help me to believe that all I could ever need or want is found in You. For it is only then that I will let you fight my battles as we walk into that battlefield together. For it is only then that I can get up from the dirt, love my enemy, forgive my friend, break the cycles that have gone on for generations, and walk in the character that will honor your Name.” Amen.
For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory! Deuteronomy 20:4 NLT
Who is the King-Glory? God, armed and battle ready. Psalm 24:8 – Message
Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. Psalm 144:1-2