As our living conditions change, we have to deal with what is becoming known as the “new normal.” Behind this expression is the subtle acknowledgment that everything is changing. This recognition produces a wide variety of behavioral patterns in response.
We are observing many changes revolving around the abandonment of previous moral guidelines. Restraint is being removed.
This makes it difficult for those who believe in godly standards. It sets up an adversarial situation for those who don’t go along with the new normal. God’s word makes it clear that this will be the case.
The Psalmist makes an interesting point about God and those who relate to Him. “Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years have no end. The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You” (Psalm 102:25-28). God does not change – there is no new normal due to God changing moral values. He “endures” – is consistent, and His children follow His “enduring” ways. Those who endure to the end shall be saved.
Let’s consider a phenomenon that exists in nature and see if there is a spiritual lesson we can learn. One section of the animal world is known as ectothermic animals. That is, they have body temperatures that vary according to the environment. They hibernate during the cold winter months. Hibernation is an inactive state which functions to conserve energy. It is a state of minimal activity.
Consider a spiritual analogy drawn from God’s creation. We don’t like adversarial situations, and it is natural to avoid them if we can. We much prefer the role of peacemaker – or at least its results.
One way we can avoid difficult situations is to spiritually hibernate. In other words, we can accommodate the changing environment by avoidance. Whilst a certain amount of wisdom is needed in interacting with the worldly environment, we don’t have the luxury to go into a state of minimal activity.
According to Psalm 102, when the physical environment changes (and prophecy says it will), God remains the same, and the people of God will also remain the same (continue).
The concept of endurance – both of God and man – is one of continual activity.
The new normal can have an effect on members of the body, as the Parable of the Sower makes clear. “… and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.” (Mark 4:17). The Apostle Paul told Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine …” (2 Timothy 4:3). The new normal can cause people to stumble.
There is no denying that the changing world is difficult for all of us. But as people of God, we have to up our game to combat it. We cannot withdraw into an inactive state to avoid confronting reality. Consider the example of Abraham. “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (Hebrews 6:15).
Endurance is an action word. “You, therefore, must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life …” (2 Timothy 2:3-4). We disengage from the affairs of this life so we can enthusiastically engage with our Creator.
A close relationship with God will help us practice endurance. Love “… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
The new normal is for this decaying society. Endurance is for the people of God.