I Do Not Aspire to Be a ‘Regular Guy’

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Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

When my soul is hungry for deep help from God; when I am blank before the word of God, and ache for someone to show me the greatness and glory of Christ; when I feel a longing for heaven, and desire a soul-brother who shares this passion; when I am full of fresh fruit from God’s word, and yearn for a fellow lover of Scripture, I do not look for a “regular guy.”

And since that’s not what my soul longs for, it’s not what I long to be.

What My Soul Needs

In my deepest need or deepest joy, I do not say, “What I need now is a regular guy.” At the best and worst moments of my life I do not say, “What my soul needs just now is a regular guy.”

I am far more likely to look for someone who eats grasshoppers, wears animal skins, and lives in the desert. I don’t care if he’s never seen a movie or driven a car or owned a cell phone.

What my soul needs is not the ordinary. I’ve got plenty of that inside of me already. I don’t need more “regular.” I need something irregular, unusual. Something unusually wise and deep and strong and pure and great. Something this world does not offer. I long for a person who has seen God and been forever put out of sync with this world. I long for a person who can tell me what God has shown him — something that is really there in the word of God, something that few see, something solid and glorious.

Too Heavenly Minded?

Yes, I know. It is possible to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use. My problem is: I’ve never met one of those people. And I suspect, if I met one, the problem would not be that his mind is full of the glories of heaven, but that his mind is empty and his mouth is full of platitudes.

I suspect that for every professing believer who is useless in this world because of other-worldliness, there are a hundred who are useless because of this-worldliness.

And yes, I know that our aim is not to be weird. We don’t need more weird people in our lives. We are supposed to let our light shine before others that they may give glory to our Father. But in my experience, shining with supernatural, divine light from another world is the very essence of non-regular.

And yes, not aspiring to be a regular guy comes close to the vanity of needing to be somebody. Abstaining from the ordinary is no proof of being spiritual, and very likely a sign of egotism. “O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me” (Psalm 131:1).

To Be Sculpted

Yes. Yes. Yes. All that. God help us. But still my perplexed and longing soul needs something more than a “regular guy.” It needs one

  • who loves God with all his heart and soul and mind and strength (Matthew 22:37),
  • who loves Jesus more than mother or father or son or daughter (Matthew 10:37),
  • who knows he has died and is seated with Christ in heaven (Colossians 3:3),
  • who sets his mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2),
  • who is not conformed to this world (Romans 12:2),
  • who does not love this world (1 John 2:15),
  • who flees youthful passions and pursues righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2 Timothy 2:22),
  • who seeks understanding like silver and searches for it as for hidden treasures (Proverbs 2:4),
  • who does not account his life of any value nor as precious to himself (Acts 20:24),
  • who is filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18),
  • who rejoices when others revile him and persecute him (Matthew 5:11–12),
  • who prays without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17),
  • who dies every day (1 Corinthians 15:31), and
  • who boils in spirit (Romans 12:11).

O Lord, have mercy on us! Stun us. Sculpt us with your hammer and chisel till we look and live like holy, helpful, happy aliens. Guard us from the aspiration of regular worldly cool. Put us out of sync with every secular and religious sin. Get us ready to meet you without fear, without shame, without surprise.