Radical

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Radical.

I say yes. Yes to radical for Christ. Yes to it all.

There is too much complacency in my faith circles. Apathy around me, even. There is pain etched on faces and hopelessness there too. If we believe in Christ and his resurrection, if we believe in the promises of Scripture, in the power of the very breath, the Word of God, why is there such hopelessness?

hopeless

There is lots of talking about Christ, about what we have in Jesus, but do we understand what we actually have if we are in Christ? Do we truly? Because if we live knowing truly who we are in Jesus, and if we receive the gifts that He has for us, then there will be no room for hopelessness in us.

So what does radical mean? What does radical look like?

I don’t know that I have an answer at present. I think that radical for Jesus might look different to you than to I.

Where do I find radical in this daily life full of teaching and laundry and meals and dishes and dirty floors and mid-stream-interrupted-Jesus-time that I rarely get to return to?

Maybe for some it means getting rid of the Christian clichés, and getting real with God. For the first time.

Maybe it means hanging out with someone whom others find … different. And despite others’ words or looks, you do it because that is what Christ asks us to do. He asks us to love radically. My mom is my hero when it comes to befriending those whom no one else will befriend. She loves on those who have are deemed unloveable by others.

Or perhaps it means stepping out in courage and asking that friend who has just confided in you, “How can I pray for you?” or “Can I pray for you right now?” even though those words make me quake in my boots a little, you? 🙂  And then stepping out, and believing that God will give you the words to pray.

Maybe it looks like selling your house and belongings, and moving across the continent to follow God’s call into a place of learning and growing.

Perhaps it means taking seriously the commands of Jesus found in Scripture. To be doers of the word, not just hearers only. (James 1:22)

To be a “doer” of the Word; to put His love into action. Maybe it looks like bringing cookies to a group home, or a retirement home where the façade looks old and decrepit, where there is an absence of hope in those you see outside having a smoke. Or delivering soup to the neighbour across the street, a widow.  Because those gifts of time are precious, aren’t they? Isn’t time one thing we all struggle with not having enough of?

I know it means loving my family through the disagreements, through the anger and right on through to the other side where there is forgiveness and grace and peace again. Or perhaps it looks like reaching out to someone with whom you have disagreed with in your church family… first. Even though it seems hard and makes you bristle inside.

But I think it always means surrender of my own will, my own desires, for those of Christ. 1 Cor.6:19 says that “…You are not your own; you were bought at a price…”   And we always remember that the price was Jesus’ life. He gave His very life for us.

So I keep asking Jesus daily to strip away the unnecessary in order to prioritize the greater and more important things. Maybe it means not turning on the computer first thing in the morning so that I will pick up my Bible instead. Maybe it means choosing between the ‘good’ and the ‘better’. Blogs are good. But I feel convicted that the Bible is the better thing to spend time embracing and chewing and digesting. Those living words of God transform hearts and souls and minds. And I am choosing to renew my mind with God’s Word…. {would you join me, perhaps?}

To step out in courage. To believe the promises in Scripture and to ask for the Holy Spirit. For it is the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to actually be doers of the Word. I have tried to do things in my own power, and have failed and fallen. But if we ask, He is faithful to answer. Plumb the depths of Scripture to see what He has to say. Spend time in conversation with Jesus himself. And find out what radical looks like for you.

walkwithhimwednesdays2

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4 responses »

  1. “So I keep asking Jesus daily to strip away the unnecessary in order to prioritize the greater and more important things.” Amen! I am asking for this as well, believing that it is a prayer He delights to answer. I too am looking to live a life that is radical for Jesus. This is what He is worthy of. The Lord bless you.

  2. “Because if we live knowing truly who we are in Jesus, and if we receive the gifts that He has for us, then there will be no room for hopelessness in us.”

    Your writing is so often thought-provoking… thanks for that.

    You seem to be making a direct link here between being radical and being hope-filled (with no resulting radical-room therefore for hope-less-ness). As I do just a quick pondering of scripture, it seems to me there might be exceptions to this premise. I think on many issues, God and Jesus themselves were quite hope-filled about the possibilities within humanity but when it didn’t work out (as was all too often the case) there was apparent room for a quite legitimate hoping-less (or hope-less) stance. When you consider God’s radical response to Noah’s neighbours or even Lot’s spouse, it seems possible to be both radical and hope-less (at least with respect to some particular people and/or specific situations… thankfully creating floods and transforming folks into sodium chloride pillars is not a commonly available response for most of us)!

    I think hope always has an object and context of some sort and as such it is quite exposed to the vagaries of hope-filled-ness and hope-less-ness. Jesus was obviously hope-filled about the potential of his disciples but on the many occasions when they didn’t understand, fell asleep, were fear-full etc, I expect even Jesus took a somewhat hope-less stance about how the transformations were going to come about! Hmmmm… OK let’s try this lesson again, shall we?

    Personally, the older I get I’m not so sure that even God or Jesus could entirely avoid hopelessness and I certainly know that I can’t! By the very nature of hope though, hopelessness is seldom a terminal condition (although it is a very human condition… given how hope-filled we are). More often than not, hopelessness is just a place to grow through (and hopefully get through) perhaps even a bit wiser from the journey.

    As to living a life that is radical, my guess is that you can expect hopelessness to be a frequent companion on that journey. Not to be bummed out by that though, if you want to be hope-full, you are going to spend some time being hope-less (there is a relationship here).

    Thanks for writing and choosing to be alive in the way you are… you do stuff and you choose to be someone… that’s wonderful… perhaps even radical… thanks for the example!

    ps. Don’t feel too hope-less about all that faith-complacency, pain-etched lives etc around you… in your hope-full-ness I expect you touch more than a few folks in their hope-less-ness… I expect you are probably a lot like your mother in that way (generational radicalness… that sounds very cool!).

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Gord! They are thought-provoking as well. In regards to that first quote that you mentioned, I think that what I was trying to convey was that if we are Spirit-filled, there is no room for hopelessness. If we are so full of the Spirit (Love Himself, really) then how can there be room for despair? I think that my post was in response to being with someone who truly lives for Christ in such a way that I see no hint of hopelessness. She seems so full of life and love and hope. This person is a contrast to most Christians around me. I want what she has…. And the truth is, most people might call her “radical” for Christ. Yet, she argues that what she has/experiences/lives is *not* radical at all, but simply living a “normal” Christian life, full of the Holy Spirit.

      I enjoyed your comments about Jesus being hope-filled about the disciples. I would probably call it “disappointment” when they let him down. Although, you are right, perhaps there are some examples in Scripture when Jesus despaired. Like when he lamented about Jerusalem, perhaps? But when Jesus despairs, or God pulls some radical move out of His pocket, it seems to me a righteous despair. It is not a despair in the same way that we experience despair. Ours is often a result of our own sinful choices and the consequences. God’s despair seems to be about the sin that humans have brought upon themselves by being silly and choosing their own way, as opposed to His good way.

      Thanks again.

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