Define Normal, Part 2
I don’t believe any reasonable, thinking person today really wants to go where the powers that be are attempting to lead us. Globalism has always been proffered as a win-win scenario. It supposedly would eradicate all wars, eliminate hunger, bring prosperity to all people and result in utopian life on earth. If you still believe in Santa Claus you might just buy this nonsensical idea of benevolent dictatorships. The Communist/Marxist/Socialist dictatorships of the past century have been responsible for the murder of millions of people. Why would present efforts to wipe out nationalities and replace them with a one world government and order result in anything different? Remember this definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
The new normal the propagandist media would have us embrace is meant to lead us passively, sheepily into the new world order of communist/socialist/Marxist lives under the complete domination of the state. Given a realistic view of what this kind of lifestyle would constitute, I doubt anyone with two living brain cells to rub together would voluntarily choose this option. I would also argue that a return to what most people would refer to as the “normal,” is not what followers of Christ would choose either. Remember, what we call normal includes the acceptance of immorality of every color, abortion on demand, unconstitutional government filled with corruption, wanton idolatry, completely unjust justice system, self-aggrandizing congressmen who represent special interests rather than constituents, a totally inept mass media that serves as the propaganda arm of the state, an educational system that indoctrinates rather than teaching the truth and encouraging young people to actually think, an economic system that enslaves one under perpetual personal debt and the continuous attempts to eradicate every vestige of God from all personal and public life.
If the old normal is corrupt and the new normal would be even more disastrous, what then is left for Christ followers to choose from? The answer is, and always has been, the kingdom of God. That may sound overly simplistic or even a little trite but the truth is so few Christians have intentionally and vigorously even tried it.
The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. Luke 16:16 NKJV.
The word “pressing” used here is a very strong word which literally means to be violently forceful in one’s doing. It is describing the urgency, desire, intention and willingness to gain the kingdom of God. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon includes this description in defining pressing:
A share in the heavenly kingdom is sought for with the most ardent zeal and the intensest exertion.
I kind of doubt this describes the thrust of most of us in our approach to God’s kingdom today. I say this because I believe few churches today are literally teaching and preaching the same gospel taught by Jesus and represented in the New Testament. The gospel today seems to be more about escaping hell and gaining heaven. It is more of a man-centered gospel where persons are seeking to discover what is in it for them. Much of the gospel today is also laced with legalism, attaching lots of do’s and don’t’s and attempting to satisfy a grouchy God with all his requirements.
Years ago a wise teacher taught me to ask a different question, “What is it that God wants for himself?” The teacher’s answer was, “He wants many sons and daughters just like Jesus.” Our heavenly Father wants to populate his kingdom with men and women who look like Jesus. He wants to grow us up into the full stature life of Christ. He is offering us the fullness of the inheritance he has provided for his only begotten son. His greatest desire is to conform us to the very image of Christ. The issue facing us is whether or not we are willing to give to the Lord what from eternity past was always in his heart. This is what is called the gospel of the kingdom and is what the Bible portrays from Genesis to Revelation.
The very first recorded words of Jesus in Mark’s gospel were his announcement of and call to the gospel of the kingdom of God…
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mk 1:14, 15 KJV
All of Jesus’ teaching was related to the kingdom of God in some respect with the parables being especially poignant in this regard. The gospels basically end with a portrayal of the coming of the kingdom in its fullness. Following the resurrection, Jesus meets with his disciples over a period of forty days and the subject of his sharing with them was the kingdom of God…
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God… Mk 1:3 KJV
The Good News that Jesus proclaimed and calls us to is all about his glorious kingdom. To reject fully embracing the kingdom of God is tantamount to rejecting the Good News that Jesus and his disciples preached. This is the gospel that the early church enthusiastically adopted and lived. It was what they were willing to put their lives on the line for. It entailed radical adjustments in one’s lifestyle, values and pursuits. This is why Peter referred to believers as sojourners, strangers and pilgrims with respect to their life on planet earth. The Greek word for sojourners is defining someone who dwells in a strange or foreign land. It is the same word used in Acts 13:17 in referring to Israel’s time in Egypt. They were foreigners in a strange land. I am reminded of an old chorus from childhood that my youth fellowship often sang entitled This World’s Not My Home…
This world is not my home
I’m just a-passing through
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.
With all that is transpiring in our nation and in the world today, the temptation is very great to do all we can to “normalize” our lives as best we can. For most the sense of normal is simply life without circumstances and events which would be considered disrupting and interfering with our usual routine of life.
Most of us tend to like life that is thoroughly predictable. We really don’t care for the unexpected to pop up or for things to happen that upset our planned activities and take us off our intended course. The problem is that we really don’t have any control over so much of life’s inevitabilities. No one can really know when sickness may come or when an accident may occur. We have no control over the behavior of others whose actions may insinuate themselves into our lives with disturbing or even disastrous consequences. As case in point, the behavior and actions of bureaucrats to the current virus scandal with their nonsensical social distancing, requirement of masks and draconian lockdowns have virtually altered the “normal” of all Americans and served to destroy in four months the robust economic advances of the past four years.
It is sheer folly to attempt regaining a sense of the normal by trusting in the same failed and corrupt world systems that have led us to the precipice we currently face. It won’t be found in a corrupt judicial system filled with Constitution-abusing activist judges. The answers aren’t available through an educational system bent more on indoctrination than education. You won’t get wisdom, understanding or even truth from the mass media of the world which serves primarily as the propaganda arm of the powers that be. There is little to no hope of experiencing help from the legislative branch of government which wholly serves the interests of the military/industrial complex. The world of entertainment is nothing but a psychological band aid, an illusion, a distraction which serves only to divert one’s focus away from meaningful concerns and solutions.
We must strive with all that is within us to rediscover the radical commitment and dedication to the kingdom of God that marked the faith of the pristine church. Their allegiance to their newly found king and his kingdom caused everything else in their lives to pale in comparison. They were no longer interested in carving out a niche for themselves in this present world but rather were consumed with embracing the eternal goals, values and essence of that celestial order which was coming on earth as it was in heaven. Their daily pursuit was in learning to live more effectually out of the life of their risen Lord and Savior. The persecution that they endured came principally because they pledged allegiance to King Jesus and his kingdom which meant they were in denial of King Caesar and his domain. No man can serve two masters…
The new norm for true believers in Jesus Christ is being all in for his glorious kingdom, fully embracing his rule and reign in every aspect of their lives, while fully rejecting all worldly systems and values.