Many of us attended a church service this past weekend--sang hymns and worship songs--heard a sermon about the power of our Resurrected Lord--saw people respond to an invitation and come to faith in Christ. We paused in awe of the Risen King! Some of us had family or friends visiting with whom we shared a big Easter meal. But Easter is over and now it's time to return to normal.
But here's the question for this week: What exactly is "normal" supposed to look like for a follower of Jesus?
I submit to you that "American Christianity normal" and "Biblical Christianity normal" are not synonymous.
It seems to me that "American Christianity normal" is often where Jesus is one of the many appendages in our life along with our jobs, our hobbies, our carpool schedules, our family issues, etc. Prayer and Bible reading are just one of the many demands on our time.
But "Biblical Christianity normal" is much different! It is summed up by the Apostle Paul in Phil 1:21-"For to me, to live is Christ"--in other words, for us to have the Lord Jesus as the pre-eminent focus of our thoughts and mental conversations throughout the day and night. This is the equilibrium point for our life, where our heart and mind rest and abide. And yes, when we answer a phone call, respond to a text, type a paper for school or go to a meeting--we must divert our focus to attend to these things. But just like a scale returns to zero as soon as the weight is removed, so too our hearts and minds return to Jesus as soon as the distraction is over. This is what Jesus was talking about when he said, "Abide in me" (John 15:4).
Many great saints of old understood this: what it meant to abide in Christ. In fact, Watchman Nee (1903-1972) a church leader and Christian teacher who worked in China, wrote a small book about it called, “The Normal Christian Life.” But I’m afraid living this kind of Christian life can easily get drowned out with all the technology and the fast-moving pace of the 21st century. And the saddest part of all is that so many believers in Jesus don't even realize they have accepted a cheap substitute for the "normal Christian life". So many preachers today never instruct them differently. For so long the abnormal has been the normal, that now the normal is the abnormal.
Like so many of us, I too can lose sight of this. I can get distracted and busy. I have learned that this is why we desperately need time in God’s Word and prayer every single day--not to satisfy some legalistic demand that we must meet as believers, but to re-calibrate and restore our souls to the biblical definition of normal--where Christ IS our life, not just a part of it--and where the equilibrium point to which our souls spring back whenever the distractions are removed is that deep and abiding communion with Jesus.