Have you ever wondered why people so often settle for mediocrity? Do you ever wonder why people settle for so much less than they could have? Why do people settle for compromise? If you take some time to think about it, it's almost kind of strange. But the one conclusion I have come to on the matter is that some people are not ready for the necessary sacrifice of obtaining more.
If you look at the world around us, there's no doubt about it that standards continue to drop. Compromise and settling simply for what is average, or even less than average, is no longer very difficult. On the contrary, it's actually expected, especially of teenagers. But why would you settle for what is good when you can have that which is great? Why would you settle for average when you can strive for excellence? The two areas that I want to look at specifically in this post is that of marriage and our spiritual lives.
Nowadays, it's no surprise to hear of marriages crumbling and men and women who have divorced and remarried several times. It's considered "normal" for teenagers to go from one dating fling to the next, giving their emotions and bodies away to anyone without much of a second thought. And sadly, it's far too common in Christian circles as well. And yet, God wants us to experience so much more, and not just for a fleeting moment, but for a lifetime.
I've had people suggest to me that I'm too picky about the kind of man I want to marry someday, and that my expectations are too high. However, I know that when I get married, I will be committing "till death do us part." Therefore, I want to marry someone who I know I will be able to love, honour, respect, trust and submit to. At the same time, I also want to be sure that he will love me as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for it. I want to have confidence that he will be a godly leader of our home and that he will be a good father to our children. He must be a man of godly character, integrity, a man who has a love for the Word of God and prayer. Jesus Christ must be at the core of his life and he must love Him above anything else.
I know this may sound very bold, but I don't believe that's too much to ask for. In fact, I believe that it's exactly what God wants for me and more. And if there's one thing I know for sure, it's that I will never be deserving of the wonderful man He will bring into my life. I know I have a long way to go before I will be ready to be a godly wife, but it's a work that God is doing within me. There are not many men who possess the qualities that I have described above, but I know they're out there, and by God's enabling grace, I intend to hold out for one. Why would I settle for less?
Now, in the area of our spiritual lives, there are also very few who strive to live above the mediocrity of modern North American Christianity. Most lives do not display the power of the Spirit and victory, but utter defeat. For all too many, reading the Bible is a drag, they have no desire to pray and they have no victory over sin and they accept that this is all there is. The think the power read about in Acts and the early church no longer exists. They read biographies of men and women of the past and say "That just doesn't happen anymore." And above all they're afraid that if they try and reach for something more, they will be outcasts. After all, they don't want to be called radical or extreme and certainly don't want to leave a legalistic or "holier-than-thou" impression. They're not willing to sacrifice the comfort of their present lives and endure any pain that may be necessary in living out Biblical Christianity.
The interesting thing is that such mediocrity is nothing new. I was struck by this while reading through Philippians this morning. Paul had a very difficult time finding men who were wholly devoted to God, men whom he could count on to support him in his work. Timothy, however, was a man he could count on and was confident of his genuine love for the church. In Philippians 2:20,21, he says:
"For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's."
And it's not only Paul who faced this challenge. Missionaries of the past have faced the same problem, that is, the inability to find men and women who are wholly devoted to Jesus Christ and the work of God. All too many are more concerned about earthly pleasures. So we see that yes, these men and women are few, but the truth is, each one of us can be one of the few.
I also never get the impression that Paul settled down where he was at. He always pressed on "toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." He didn't settle and he never gave up. And neither should we.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
I could say so much more, but I will leave it at that. But remember, if God has promised you treasure, will you dig until you find it, no matter how long it takes?