Watchman Nee was an influential teacher out of China and is famous for his book, The Normal Christian Life. The book is based on teaching he gave while visiting Europe in 1938-1939.
Nee painted his description of “normal” by drawing from Romans 1-8, concluding that a “normal” Christian was one who follows Paul in saying “no longer I but Christ” (Galatians 2:20). His teaching was not revolutionary, but his quest—to define “normal”—was. It hit a nerve, prompting his book to be read by millions, even today.
One purpose for this website is to negate this “normal” narrative. I want you to consider adultery in the heart to be preventable, abnormal and extremely destructive.
The communist government silenced Nee and put him in prison, where he died. Before that, he established and led a series of well-documented “overcomer conferences” (see Revelation 2-3) leaving no doubt as to his perspective on Christian living.
As many other great teachers have done, Nee focused his attention on those Christians who fail to mature—who stop at the point of becoming saved. He called those who do this “subnormal.” They are stuck in a life of immaturity and ineffectiveness. Even worse, though they are not pleasing God, they often act as though they can do no better.
Nee’s book has provoked many Christians to live in a way that is pleasing to God and demonstrates that defining “normal” is a very helpful exercise. It gives us something to measure ourselves against. None of us wants to be subnormal or abnormal.
For that reason, let’s narrow the “normal” question to a specific issue—“How does a normal Christian deal with lust?” If you consider the staggering statistics, the “average” Christian is in real trouble in this area.
The “average” Christian gains vital support—when it comes to lust—by looking around at other Christians. If you believe, based on what you see and hear, that you are just like everyone else in the way you are committing adultery in your heart, it provides a powerful rationale for continuing in sin.
I leaned on this crutch for many years, I thought I was normal. Tragically, when we make room for adultery in the heart, we open ourselves to all kinds of other ways to sin. Having crossed that line, where do you stop? One purpose for this website is to negate this “normal” narrative.
I want you to consider adultery in the heart to be preventable, abnormal and extremely destructive. Once you get your head right about this sin and then actively go about obeying Jesus by overcoming lust, a new kind of normal kicks in—life and peace (Romans 8:6).
Our obedience makes it possible to walk in the Spirit—we are no longer walking in the flesh—and to please God (Romans 8:8). All of this is “normal” in God’s eyes—the only opinion that matters.