The ‘Commonness’ of the Christian Life

Posted on November 22, 2021


By David Ettinger

Silly Depiction
I know the movie The Ten Commandments is a classic, but there is one scene that really gets under my skin.

At the end, when Moses apparently goes off to his death, he seems to have some kind of mystical relationship with God that renders him other-worldly. When his wife tells him she loves him, he just stares at her like she is some kind of leper, turns away wordlessly and exits, I gather, for his heavenly ascent.

This silly Hollywood depiction of Moses as being beyond common mortal feelings and emotions misses the mark of realistic Christianity – that somehow those who know the Lord are exempt from the limitations of natural human frailty and constraint.

By contrast, the Christian life in this world is as common as it gets.

The Truth About Moses
Far from being a mystic guru who couldn’t even tell his wife he loved her, Moses was a servant of God whose trials increased rather than decreased once becoming the Lord’s vessel.

In Exodus 4:24-26, the Lord was on the verge of taking Moses’ life until his wife Zipporah stepped in. In Exodus 18:13-14, we discover that Moses spent his days “from morning till evening” judging legal cases the Israelites brought to him. Such misery would have continued until his father-in-law Jethro intervened.

book of numbers

And then there is the 38-year gap between Numbers 19:22 and Numbers 20:1 where nothing of significance occurred during the Israelites’ desert wanderings which merited biblical documentation. Apparently Moses woke up every day, perhaps headed over to the Tabernacle to check on things, handled some big disputes, helped raise his two sons, and maybe even once in while told his wife he loved her.

The point is that there was nothing spectacular or even noteworthy that occurred in Moses’ life during this extended period; he simply lived his life in obedience to God, and carried on unspectacularly day to day.

This Earthly Life
And this is exactly what life in the flesh is for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we are saved from our sins and have eternal life (John 3:16), and have been granted the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Yes, there are wonderful emotional moments with the Lord that rocket our spirits into the stratosphere, but these are rare and not the “stuff” on which life in the flesh is to be based.

The reason for this is that this world is not our home. We read:

  • “… our citizenship is in heaven [as opposed to here on earth]. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ …” (Philippians 3:20).
  • “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells [because it sure doesn’t dwell on this present heaven and Earth]” (2 Peter 3:13).
  • Jesus, speaking of His disciples, says: “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world” (John 17:14).
holding hands common

No, our citizenship is not here; we are but strangers passing by. As such we are to live our lives “commonly,” our conduct humble and obedient. The prophet Isaiah says: “The fruit of … righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17). A few chapters earlier, he said: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (30:15).

The Christian Life
Far from being mystical and other-worldly, the Christian life is one of repentance, righteousness, peace, and quietness – at least, so much as is possible. This is because life – on this side of Christ’s return – is played out in a fallen and sin-stained realm of reality. The physical body is corrupt and crumbling, and we experience the frailty of it daily, especially as we age.

The Christian’s physical life is one of struggle, pain, and striving so long as we are in the flesh. Yes, unimaginable glory awaits, but for now, we labor and toil. Yes, we have overcome eternal death, but for now, we exist in the “38-year wilderness” doing the Lord’s bidding in humility, submission, and quietness.

God will take us home to glory when He is good and ready to, but in the interim, let us embrace the “commonness” of our wilderness life, striving to do His bidding at all times. In the meantime, if you’re really feeling up to it, perhaps you can even express your love for your spouse every now and then!