Society frowns on radicalism of any kind. You can care about the environment, but just don’t be so radical about it. You can believe in owning your own hand gun, but just don’t be radical about it. You can be a Muslim or a Christian, but just don’t be a radical Muslim, or a radical Christian.
Seems as though being a radical-version of whatever we believe in is so frowned upon, that we are nurturing a society of nominalists.
What’s the difference?
Radical – One who advocates fundamental or revolutionary changes in current practices, conditions, or institutions (from Webster’s dictionary)
Nominalist – One who attends church regularly and worships devoutly, but who has no vital personal relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord. Or, one who attends church, but only for cultural reasons. (from The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization)
What kind of disciple does Scripture say we’re to be? We know we are not to be nominal, but does it really tell us we need to be “radical”…. “advocating for fundamental or revolutionary changes”? Consider some of these passages:
23Then he [Jesus] said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
59He [Jesus] said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” 62Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-62
When Jesus heard this [about the wealthy young man], he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22
37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:37-39
Sounds pretty radical to me! Is this what we see being produced and reproduced in 21st century Christian America? If not, why not? What we’re producing and reproducing depends on who we’re becoming, so ask yourself these questions:
- Would you consider yourself a radical disciple of Jesus Christ? Would God?
- Who in your life (past or present) do you look at and think, “now he’s/she’s a radical Christian”? Do you genuinely desire to emulate their devotion to the Lord?
- What is keeping you from being a “sold out” follower and radically obedient disciple of Christ? (fear, lack of trust, secret sins, materialism, etc.)
For me….I find myself too often simply being selfish with my time. I have as much time in my day and week as anyone, and I spend all 168 hours on the things that I consider most important. So, if I’m not devoting more time to the Lord, to engage my lost neighbors in spiritual conversations, to help those around me who need help, to disciple those around me who need to be discipled and equipped….then its not because I don’t have enough time…..it’s because I am not devoted enough to Christ.
Lord, thank you that your Son’s work on the cross was a sufficient sacrifice to cover over all my sins, including my sins of selfishness. Lord, please continue to work on my heart to cause my affections to be consumed with a passion for your glory….and not to be content with the passing pleasures of this world. Remind me that in my flesh I will only continue to be selfish no matter how hard I try to change. I need you and the power of your Gospel for that kind of transformation. Change me, Lord, by your grace and for your glory.