What’s this about a “New Normal”?

graphic saying "the new normal"

I expect most people are familiar with the term “normal” and its definition: “Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected”. I decided to do a bit of research to see how and where the term “normal” came to be a word. Its date of origin was sometime in the 1500s to the 1600s. It comes from the Latin term “normalis” with the definition: “made to a carpenter’s square; forming a right angle”. I also looked up how many times “normal” was used in Scripture. The information I found listed it 14 times in several different translations. All of them were more modern day translations and none of them referred to a “normal life”.

Today we hear the phrase “new normal” from time to time. There can be many definitions to that term. I recently underwent a total knee replacement and my “old normal” quickly changed to a temporary “new normal” upon waking up after my surgery. That reality was it would take me a full year to get to my next “new normal”!

I think we all have our own definitions of what we want “normal” to be for our lives. We want to be in control and be prepared for life as it comes at us. Health and wealth would also be included.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, we would probably include living for Him (i.e. doing my best to be a good Christian).

In 1938 and 1939 Watchman Nee, who was a Christian Church leader and teacher in China, presented papers he had written on “The Normal Christian Life”. He received a revelation about a “new normal” for the Christian life with his salvation experience at the age of 17. He spent the remainder of his life sharing this revelation with other believers and encouraging their spiritual growth and starting churches. After being falsely accused he was arrested for his faith and spent the final years of his life (1956-1972) in a Chinese prison where he eventually died. The following paragraph in his words expresses what “The Normal Christian Life” is most precisely.

“God makes it quite clear in His Word that He has only one answer to every human need – His Son, Jesus Christ. In all His dealings with us He works by taking us out of the way and substituting Christ in our place. The Son of God died instead of us for our forgiveness; He lives instead of us for our deliverance. So we can speak of two substitutions – a Substitute on the Cross Who secures our forgiveness and a Substitute within Who secures our victory. It will help us greatly, and save us from much confusion, if we keep constantly before us this fact, that God will answer all our questions in one way and one way only, namely, by showing us more of His Son.”  (The Normal Christian Life, by Watchman Nee)

Watchman Nee was greatly impacted by God’s truths revealed in Romans by the Apostle Paul’s writings. He used chapters 1-8 as the cornerstone for “The Normal Christian Life”.

In today’s Christian earthly realm, we see very few believers who are experiencing this  “normal Christian life”. Most believers are living as if they have to achieve their way to becoming a new creation in Christ and their position in heaven when in reality these are already facts.  “The normal Christian life” offers us the opportunity to be receivers of our forgiveness of sins and of Jesus Christ’s life in us, and all that could mean in every aspect of life. Wow! Talk about a “New Normal”!!

Would you like to exchange your life of doing to live the Christian life for a life of being who God says you are and resting in Jesus Christ? He is the only One who could and ever did live the perfect Christian life. Would you like to allow Him to express His life that is in you through you? What would that look like?! And feel like?!

Therefore, since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved by His life (daily delivered from sin’s dominion) through His [resurrection] life. Not only so, but we also rejoice and exultingly glory in God [in His love and perfection] through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received and enjoy [our] reconciliation. [Romans 5:9-11] (Amplified Bible)

Crossway Ministry counselors are here to help you make this exchange and experience a “New Normal”. You can make the choice to keep living your “normal life” trying to make life work out of your fleshly resources, or relying on and trusting Jesus Christ to express His life through you and deal with every relationship and every life situation. We are excited to help believers begin a new chapter in their journey and go deeper in their relationship with Jesus Christ no matter where they currently are in their “normal life”. Yes! A “New Normal” can happen in your story too!