R. Scott Clark at The Heidelblog has written a great piece on appreciating and even expecting the ordinary in the Christian life. So much of evangelicalism has pushed the idea, intentionally or not, that the Christian life is one of extraordinary emotional experience and that if you’re not experiencing that “high” or mountain-top event on a frequent basis, well, something is amiss in your walk (which is a form of legalism). The result is misplaced guilt that you aren’t doing enough to warrant obtaining that experience others seem to have. The reality though is that so much of the Christian life simply comes down to contentment, thankfulness and settled-ness as to where God has us and looking for the opportunities to be a light in that place. Here are a few quotes from his article:
For many Christians the Christian life is the quest for intense, mountain-top emotional experiences. The assumption is that these sublime experiences are the norm and that those less exciting periods of life are abnormal, inferior, disappointing, and perhaps a sign of some spiritual failure. When people say, “we really worshipped today” what they are sometimes saying is, “We had an intense emotional experience during worship.”
Our expectation that the Christian life is a series of intense emotional experiences has much more to do with the 19th century than it does with the New Testament, Patristic Christianity, medieval Christianity, Reformation, or post-Reformation Reformed orthodoxy. In most of those periods, our best writers weren’t generally counseling believers to seek the unusual or the extraordinary. There are exceptions, to be sure, but that’s just it. They were exceptions.