December 11, 2018

Normal is more than a setting on the dryer . . .

An author I cannot recall wrote something like this: Most Christians live sub-normal lives so when one comes along who is living in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, they are given super-star status.

Tozer agrees. He puts it this way: “The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people. You must be satisfied that it is not abnormal. I admit that it is unusual, because there are so few people who walk in the light of it or enjoy it, but it is not abnormal.… This is unusual only because our spiritual lives are so wretchedly sick and so far down from where they should be.”

I’m particularly blessed in belonging to a congregation that has a good percentage of ‘normal’ Christians. This passage describes what ‘normal’ means for the children of God . . . 

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:1–8)

Normal means that I don’t go around feeling condemned or beating myself up every time I make a mistake. Sin happens. When it does, the normal Christian confesses it for what it is and enjoys forgiveness and cleansing, no condemnation, no fear of punishment, a total trust that Jesus has taken care of that on the Cross.

Normal also means condemning sin, not making excuses for it. A normal Christian does not say “That is the way I am” to excuse a bad temper, as if they are stuck with it forever. Jesus came to change our lives. I cannot be a normal Christian if I refuse to condemn my own sin.

Normal means thinking about things of the Spirit. I’m not plotting, planning or devising things apart from checking if my ideas are from God. He gives His people the mind of Christ and being ‘normal’ means using it to think and live.

Normal recognizes flesh. That is, when a ‘normal’ Christian becomes snarly, or gossips, or complains, they know this is not from God. Normal draws a line and when that line is crossed, they know they are not pleasing God.

Tozer says the Holy Spirit is pure, wise and true, which is correct. So are His people when He fills them. This is not strange or super-star stuff. It is normal, the way I am supposed to live and the way that I can live because of Jesus Christ.

Oh Lord, how awesome. What can I do but say thank You, praise You, live for You. Your grace and power take subnormal sinfulness and transforms our lives so we can live as we were created to live — in harmony with You. When You are filling our hearts and lives, not only do we gain the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit, but also the sense of fitting into our skin, being what You want us to be. Oh my, this is a blessedness that is hard to describe, normal yet often rare. May my life today fill that role, but also point others to the wonder of being normal!

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