What does it mean to be “radical?” Most people perceive radicalism as something bad or evil. Today a radical person is frequently called a terrorist. We think of a radical as someone who exhibits crazy, unstable behavior. So, is being radical a bad thing? What if I told you that Jesus was a radical? What if I told you that to be a true Christian you must be radical too? Are you living radically? Please read more.
Today is part three of my three-part series. In part one, I wrote about the radical nature of sharing our Christian faith. In part two, I explored the fears that stop us from sharing this good news. Today, I will explore what it means to live radically.
I began by asking you if you were a radical. Today, the word radical has been co-opted. It conjures up thoughts of extremism or fanaticism. When someone says, “That person is a radical,” it is meant to be a derogatory statement. Yet to be Christian, one truly needs to be a radical. So just what do I mean?
Radical comes from the Latin adjective rādicālis meaning, “having roots, rooted in or branching from.” Think of it as drawing from or coming from the center. Someone who is radical, is deeply grounded in their belief, like a healthy plant is deeply rooted in soil. As healthy Christians, we need to be deeply rooted in Christ.
If we are deeply rooted in our faith in Jesus, we MUST live in a radical way. For starters, to be Christian means dying to self so that you can live for God. To be a radical Christian is an all or nothing proposition. It is far more than just going to church on Sundays. Being Christian should affect every aspect of our life.
What did Jesus say it meant to be His follower? Here are just a few of the radical teachings of Jesus:
- Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:34-40)
- You are blessed if: you are poor in spirit, you mourn, you are meek or if you hunger and thirst for righteousness. (Matthew 5:3-6)
- What you do for the least ones among you, you do for Jesus. What you fail to do for them, you fail to do for Jesus. (Matthew 25:45)
- You are blessed when others insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of your faith in Jesus. (Matthew 5:11)
- Whoever obeys and teaches the commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19)
- Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment. (Matthew 5:22)
- Everyone who lusts has already committed adultery within their heart. (Matthew 5:28)
- If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. (Matthew 5:29)
- If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. (Matthew 5:30)
- Whoever divorces, unless the marriage is unlawful, causes their spouse to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced person commits adultery. (Matthew 19:9-10)
- When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. (Matthew 5:39)
- If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. (Matthew 5:40)
- Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. (Matthew 5:41)
- Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44)
- Sell what you have and give to the poor, and then follow Jesus. (Matthew 19:21)
- Jesus says, “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” John 14:21
- Jesus tells us, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
- Jesus says, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6:53-56)
Does reading this list make you squirm? It bothers me. Are you and I truly living the radical life of Christianity that Jesus calls us to live?
Believing is an action verb. To be fully Christian, we must do more than say we are Christian. We must both walk the walk and talk the talk. Paradoxically speaking, to be fully Christian, we must conform our lives to the radical teachings of a young Jewish rabbi. We know, through faith, that this young rabbi named Jesus was the Son of God, who was born of a virgin, suffered and died for our sins, and who rose from the dead to set all who believe in Him and live their lives according to His precepts, free from bondage, and to grant them peace, love, joy and eternal life.
I will summarize this three-part series with this statement. To be Christian, we are compelled to both live and share, without fear, the radical message of Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, please grant me the courage to both live and share the Gospel of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen!
As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.