The life Jesus lived was a life uncommon. In fact it was so uncommon that no one has been able to lead a life like it before or since. It is a life which gives us the ultimate guide on how to live in a godly manner. And now we have the Spirit to give us power – the power to do what is right. That is why Jesus said that when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth (John 16:13).
When we live this life, a life lived in total devotion and commitment to Jesus, we too live a life uncommon. Romans 12:2 says to not be conformed to the pattern of the world but to be transformed by the renewing of your minds. It is a life lived against the grain, a life of swimming against the tide of popular opinion and cultural norms.
Martin Luther King talked about this when he spoke of living the life of a transformed nonconformist in his magnificent Strength to Love. Most of us don’t live this life, preferring instead to live a life of maximum comfort. As we think of people like King, Gandhi and JFK – the latter having told his countrymen fifty years ago this week to ask not what their country could do for them but what they could do for their country – we remember that such people inspire us, but how many of us would actually go as far as to take that life seriously and actually live it?
When Jesus talked about coming to give us abundant life (John 10:10), he was not referring to simply enjoying the life we live here and now (although life certainly is to be enjoyed). He was talking about living a life of following Him, which starts by denying ourselves and taking up our cross. The life uncommon that we then lead, the counter-cultural life, the life of swimming against the tide, is the only life worth living.