Call Me Radical

11 Jun

I want to be accused of being a radical Christian. Not as the term is used most often these days. No. That would never do. I’m talking about radical Christians who make themselves obvious by their love. They don’t consider themselves holier than others. They don’t identify with this cause or that one. They focus on their relationship with Jesus and the expression of it to those around them, impacting others lives. And they are immoveable in their beliefs, which seem radical.

They believe Jesus truly is the Son of the Living God, the only God. They believe He is the only way for man to be restored to a loving relationship with God. They believe Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose on the third day. And they believe that by faith they have been crucified, buried, and made alive with Him to live in the power of Jesus’ resurrected life. Now that’s radical. But wait, there’s more.

The resurrected life means true believers can live in the kingdom of God while yet in these physical bodies. The radical Christians believe, as Paul wrote, that they are a new creation. Christians are not simply fallen, sinful men who have been forgiven. They are men, women and children walking about with God’s Holy Spirit residing within. The wisdom, knowledge, and power of Jesus is available to touch and change lives just like we read about Jesus and His apostles doing. Can it get more radical than that? Yes, it can.

Jesus Defined It

Jesus painted a clear word picture of what He planned for His disciples. He said they must first recognize their best behavior and best deeds are worthless in the kingdom. His disciples must recognize they are broken and bankrupt before they can experience the kingdom of heaven, but once they do it is theirs. (Poor in Spirit, Matthew 5:3)

The next thing He said surely stopped some from going off in wild fantastic tangents. He said to those listening to Him and to each of us today that even though we can revel in having received the kingdom, we must grieve. Sin has destroyed so much that was beautiful and meant for good. Sin continues to try to darken lives with burdens, guilt, and hardships, but those things are symptoms. Mourn instead that sin continues unchecked. Grieve over its effect in your own life and the lives all around. (Mourn, Matthew 5:4)

Then submit to the heart of God. Radical Christians subject themselves to God’s wisdom even when their own wisdom directs them toward another path of action. Victory in our circumstances depends on our being willing to let go of our skills and to rely wholly on God’s. (Meek, Matthew 5:5)

If that is not enough, Jesus said true disciples hunger and thirst after Him. Picture it as the pursuit one gives for the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with. The love of his or her life occupies nearly all their thinking whenever they are apart. They long to be able to back in one another’s arms. The radical Christians have hearts that burn for righteousness—His righteousness—to fill every part of their being and are quick to kick out any bit of jealousy, pride or enmity that tries to jump up. (Hunger and thirst for righteousness, Matthew 5:6)

Being radical also means to be compassionate for the hurting and to be there to help bring healing no matter what ailments assail others. They give when others pass by the hurting on the other side. (Merciful, Matthew 5:7)

And the hearts of radical Christians are squeaky clean. They go about serving others without any expectation for things in return. They have no hidden motives. (Pure in heart, Matthew 5:8)

Their ultimate goal is to bring others to a place of peace with God. Without the relationship between the two being healed, no one can ever experience real peace. No sense of beauty and joy can surpass the thrill of being the peacemaker, ushering another into the presence of God Almighty and watching the rejoicing that takes place in that moment both on earth and in the heavenlies. (Peacemakers, Matthew 5:9)

What’s impossible with man is possible with God

Jesus said those who do those things are the salt and light of the world. I say those are true radical Christians. A part of me says that I can’t do all those things. I can’t be that type of Christian. But, I am reminded by Paul that it is God who works in me to have both the will and the ability to do those good things. (See Philippians 2:12-13.) It’s that simple—just like the initial entering into salvation. As a believer, I claim Jesus is in my heart. If He is there, then His heart toward others is also in residence in me. I have the will to do those things because Jesus is in me. And I have the strength and authority of the one who called Lazarus from the grave backing me up to do His good work. That’s the radical Christian I want to be.

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