Let me say that again.
Your not Radical.
I was speaking to a friend the other day and he said, “Jon, I want to be the sort of Christian that people see and say, ‘that guy is crazy for Jesus…that guy is Radical.”
It’s sort of like that phrase that we throw around describing the type of faith we see in our fellow brothers and sisters and the way they walk our their Christian faith, “They are on fire for Jesus, on fire for the Lord.”
What defines the standard for what it means to be “on fire?”
What defines what it means to be Radical?
We have our own language and culture in the church that we use to elevate and bestow a type of honor and glory upon one another that, in my opinion, should be thought through a little more.
Now before you think this stems from bitterness and an envious life that has turned into a critical view of the Church, think again.
I have been the Christian, “on fire.” I have been called Radical. And I liked it. In fact to be honest if you called me Radical now I would still crack an internal smile hidden by a serious facial expression, and accompanied with a slight nod as if I couldn’t accept it BUT that is because I am a prideful sinner saved by grace working on humility. Lord, humble me.
This is a call to start thinking about the language we use and how it begins to affect our perspectives. Words matter.
Why have I been called Radical you might ask?
Because I pray throughout the day.
Because I share the testimony of God in my life at my workplace.
Because I don’t believe in evangelism as a ministry time but evangelism as a lifestyle.
Because I have traveled the world and lived among the poor.
Because I have shared the love of God and the reality that nothing will stop God from pursuing His people and those who do not know him.
Because I get to teach the Word of God.
We can read about David, Moses, and Paul, we can dance through the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, pause and whisper in awe, ….these men were …. Radical.
Hebrews 11:32-33, “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire….37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword…”
How about answered the call of God, and lived a Kingdom life designed by a glorious, magnificent Creator?
What about the woman who gave all she had?
What about the boy who gave his five loaves and two fish?
What if being Radical was actually how God designed Kingdom life to be?
What if being Radical was actually quite normative in resurrection life?
What if being Radical was answering God like Isaiah did with three beautiful words….”Here I Am.”
So Christians lives might look and should look different from the world, after all Paul paints the picture in 1 Corinthians 4:9,
“For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.”
The picture here is followers of Jesus, literally on display, on a stage as the whole world watches because there is something about us that is different. God’s Spirit in us. Okay, maybe I can give you Radical when it comes to being contrasted against the world but Radical within Christian circles? No way. We are all on that stage. We are all called to live a life that includes picking up our cross and following Jesus.
What we think is a Radical life, actually is a norm in the Kingdom of God. It is completely normal to share the gospel, teach the Word, love our enemies.
That’s what Jesus did, and that is what He invites us to do, and that should be our response to a debt wiped clean.
The problem with labeling people as Radicals is that it creates a divide and fosters comparison uplifting a particular part rather than the exhortation and encouragement of the entire body. Though it can be challenging, it also creates an unworthiness in those who are not called Radicals but still live a life consumed by Jesus.
Friends, might we rejoice in a Radical transformational life and walk together in a life consumed by Jesus and what He calls us to be… A light in a world of darkness.