Think about that word for a minute and what it represents.
If you’re an avid hunter you might see a vegetarian while a political junky probably sees a member of the Taliban. Bring it closer to home and a teenager sees his over-protective parents and those same parents see their doesn’t-think-things-through teen.
The definition of the word? According to Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary it means pertaining to the root or origin; original; fundamental; as a radical truth.
While the more “cool and hip” Urban Dictionary explains it as an extremist of a belief or even a rebel. But, then goes on to remind us that RADICAL also means “something good”.
My all-time favorite synonym of this often misunderstood word? Revolutionary.
Jesus was radical. Jesus is radical. His life in ours? Revolutionary.
Read the gospels and try to prove me wrong. When he meets his twelve and says, “Follow me.” they do. They drop their fishing nets, quit their day job to live three years in an intense discipleship class with God Himself. Pretty radical.
Jesus asks us, too, for radical faith, radical obedience, radical trust in Him.
Redeemed from sin. Radical
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Regeneration with a Holy God. Radical.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Ezekiel 36:26-27
God revealed through Christ. Radical.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5
Relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Radical.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own,and Hisown did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:10-13
As a follower of Christ, I believe in a radical-revolutionary God. If I am becoming more like Him, shouldn’t I be looking less like the world I live in? I’m not purposely seeking the X Games of faith, but if what He asks me to do looks strange to those around me, then so be it. Jesus is and always will be the greatest example of our counter-culture. If we’re true followers of His shouldn’t our ways be the same?
Our radical sabbatical, our move to Tennessee, not having cable TV in our home…so many reasons for others to look at my walk of faith as extreme and yes, even radical. For us each choice has been good and right. The more I seek Him and desire a life set apart from this world, the more I experience fruit from each tiny step of obedience. Oswald Chambers says, “We have simply to obey and leave all the consequences to Him.”
Make 2014 the year you look radical. How about you redeem the definition in your spiritual life, not to be extreme for the sake of being extreme, but to follow Him wholeheartedly – refusing to care what others think. Use this word, instead, in the context of faithful obedience as something good and something right.
Resist the siren song of the world and walk instead to the beat of Christ’s drum.
When was the last time your faith in Christ looked radical to those around you?