Normal infects our faith as well, both what we believe and how we live it out. When we consider how people relate to God, it’s normal to either reject God altogether or believe in him while living as if he doesn’t exist. In churches, normal is lukewarm Christianity, self-centered spiritual consumerism, and shallow, me-driven faith. God has become a means to an end, a tool in our toolbox to accomplish what we want. The majority of people claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.
And all this is normal.
But normal isn’t working.
As I have discussed contemporary challenges for the church with various people, a lot of current struggles come up: homosexuality, the decline of sexual values, a reduced view of the Bible as God’s word, the exodus of young people from churches, a lack of spiritual depth, etc. The list of things churches and Christians are struggling with really could go on and on. However, there is one issue that I believe is the primary struggle that accounts for most of these second-level issues. That issue is laziness.
You could also call it apathy or as Groeschel terms it, being normal. It is this rampant tendency to follow the crowd and avoid challenging anyone (most of all yourself), and to fall in line with what is comfortable and familiar. The tough reality is that we are called to something radically different, something weird. We are not told to conform, but to follow a unique path laid out by God.
Groeschel points out the struggles that go with being “normal”; stress, anxiety, depression, shame, a feeling of being lost or alone. Our world is struggling because of “normal” and, as Christians, we have been given a cure for those struggles, but it comes with a dramatically different lifestyle. In the book, Groeschel talks about how our time, our finances, our relationships, our view of sex, and our personal values should reflect God’s kind of weird, and how as Christians we should stand out from the world.
This book is a great challenge to Christians who have gotten lazy. We all tend to fall into patterns, and we often do things to avoid rocking the boat. However, being a Christian should be hard. If being a Christian for you is easy, then you are doing something wrong. When we are living as Christ has called us to live, then we are very different from the world around us. In their eyes, we’re weird. But that is what God has called us to and what we must do in order to follow Him.
If you have just enough of Christ to satisfy you but not enough to change you, answer his knock and let him make himself at home with you.
You’ve purposefully chosen to leave the broad path. You’re gladly traveling the narrow road. Your journey may seem weird to others, but your destination will be infinitely better than anything a settle-for-normal world can offer.
Because you can’t settle for normal any longer. You can’t be normal, because you are getting to know the loving, grace-filled, all-powerful God of the universe. And as you come to know him, you’re becoming like him. The more you are like him, the more different you will be.