So you want to be a radical Christian, huh? You want to be a sold out, hardcore, all on the line, hold nothing back Christian. You don’t want to waste your life. You want to have crazy love for God. Awesome. So do I. I want to be a radical disciple for Jesus.
But what exactly does that mean? How exactly do I be a radical Christian? I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. This matters a lot to me. In Revelation Jesus says that he spits out lukewarm people, and I certainly don’t want to be a lukewarm Christian. I want to be a red hot Christian who is on fire for Jesus.
So should I sell everything I have and be a traveling evangelist? Should I go immediately into the mission field? Should I give 75% of my income away? Should I read my Bible all the time and not watch TV or play video games? Well, maybe. But not necessarily. The more I read the Bible, the more I’m convinced that being radical for Jesus is actually pretty “boring” and “mundane”.
The book of Ephesians is a helpful example in this regard. In the first three chapters of the book, Paul details the incredible, brilliant, mind-blowing plan of salvation that God has devised and put into action through Jesus Christ. I mean, we’re talking serious stuff here: election, predestination, adoption, redemption, and the grand plan to unite all things in Jesus Christ. This is explosive, “set your heart on fire for Jesus” kind of stuff.
Then, in chapter 4, verse 1, he says: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called…” When I read that I think, “Alright, here it comes. The call to be radical and to live in a manner worthy of the gospel. Lay it on me Paul. Hit me in the face with it!”
And Paul does hit me right in the face. He tells me to walk, “…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Hold on. What? That’s what it means to be radical? To bear with one another in love and maintain unity? That seems so, I don’t know, boring. Maybe if I read farther in the book I’ll get to the really radical stuff.
Ephesians 4:22-24 says:
“…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
These passages, and a lot of others like them, seem to be saying that the Christian life is, by nature, radical! In other words, when I love my wife and serve her, that is radical. When I put off corrupt speech and speak the truth in love, that is radical. When I flee sexual immorality, that is radical. When I serve others in my church with the gifts that God has given me, that’s radical. When my wife Jen serves me and our girls by doing laundry and making dinner, that is radical. What seems kind of boring and mundane is actually very radical in God’s eyes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t think about missions, or giving away a lot of money, or adopting children, or whatever. Those are all important things. I just wouldn’t want someone to think that they are not a radical Christian if they don’t do those particular things. Being radical is a lot bigger than that.