“RADICAL.” In politics it defines someone with extreme views, either liberal or conservative. In a revolution it pictures a group that is fanatically opposed to the reigning power. In medicine it describes a surgery that totally eliminates a part of the body. In today’s context it has a highly negative connotation because it defines the terrorists that bring so much fear, pain, and death to the world.
However, I believe that God wants all of His children to be “radical Christians”. What comes to your mind when you hear the term “radical Christian”? Wild eyed fanatics standing on the street corner with fifty pound Bibles screaming “turn or burn you heathen”? A monk who lives in seclusion, isolating himself from the mainstream of life? An ascetic who lives in self imposed austerity, sleeping on a concrete floor and eating only bread and water? No, by radical Christian I mean something very different from these.
The word “radical” means “to the root”. Thus, a radical Christian is one who is sold out to Jesus to the very root of his or her being, not just on the surface. A radical Christian is one who is on the journey of absolute surrender to Jesus, one who loves Him with all their heart, all their soul, all their mind, and all their strength, and one whose commitment to Him is first and foremost in every aspect of their lives.
What does a radical Christian look like? Well, they certainly aren’t perfect, don’t ever get that idea. They are sinners saved by grace who struggle with temptation like everyone else. A radical Christian just loves Jesus so much that they ooze with His presence. They have a burning passion for Him, and they want to know Him more. They have an insatiable hunger and an unquenchable thirst for Him, and they have a deep desire for holiness and for a life that brings Him glory.
Radical Christians have no trouble talking about Jesus when the opportunity arises, regardless of where they are or who they are with. They can’t wait to come to Sunday service to worship their Lord and Savior with their church family. They sing the songs with robustness even if they are a little (or a lot) off key. They listen to the message with attentive ears to grasp what the Holy Spirit is teaching them, give financially with joy and generosity and come expecting to meet with God. They eagerly look forward to their quiet time with the Lord everyday in prayer, Bible reading, and worship, and humbly serve in their churches in the areas God leads them to with commitment and excellence.
Are these radical Christians a hand-picked-by-God select group of super saints – the “elite” that others stand in awe of? No. They are just common everyday folks like you and I, but they have a deep understanding of how truly awesome God is and are amazed that they can have an intimate relationship with Him. They understand the cost of this marvelous relationship – the cross and blood of Jesus- and are humbled by the fact that God would love them so much. They know, and I mean really know, how amazing God’s grace really is, and they understand the delicate balance between having a reverential awe of Him as the Sovereign King of Kings and Lord of Lords and having a deep intimacy with Him as Abba (daddy).
How do you become a radical Christian? You won’t find it in a “how to” book that gives you A-B-C step by step method. Radical Christians don’t pop up over night or go to “Radical Christianity” school. No, nothing like this.
Radical Christianity is the natural result of grasping the reality of just how much God loves you, and understanding all that the cross and blood of Jesus accomplished on your behalf. It is having such a profound gratefulness to Him for saving you that you develop a passion to know Him intimately and serve Him unreservedly. It is, simply put, desiring to live as His bond slave for His glory.
Just think for a moment what our country would look like if every born again believer would live as a radical Christian. We would most assuredly turn this nation upside down for Jesus – not with civil disobedience, bombs, or marches, but with the power of His abiding presence in us that others can’t help but notice and be attracted to; wIth a life that acts like a mirror that reflects His holiness, love, and grace to all we meet.
Are you a radical Christian? Do you want to be? There is no greater journey on planet earth than this.