I grew up the son of a Pastor, a true shepherd. I grew up honoring my earthly father by learning all I could about God. I could quote scripture and had sound theology. And I really thought that’s all there was to being a Christian. I had lots of knowledge about God, but very little relationship with him. I could sit through my Dad’s best sermon, leave feeling great about myself, and then head out into the world and live a life that didn’t reflect the things that I learned. I was comfortable, comfortable with my life in the world. I enjoyed the things of the world and desired them above all else.
And I think that this defines the modern day church. We know what we should be doing, but desire the things of the world more than the things of God. We want the hottest car, the biggest houses, and the coolest clothes. Not that these things themselves are evil, but desiring them more than God is. We desire the shiny trinkets of this world rather than the beautiful jewels of the Kingdom of God.
We watch the same movies and tv shows as the rest of the world. Our eyes are filled with sex and violence. We listen to the same music as the rest of the world. Our ears are filled with language that curses our God or that would embarrass sailors of previous generations. We allow these types of media to shape our world view, and then wonder why our world seems to be so hopeless.
We fill spare time on Facebook telling the world about our last trip to the grocery store or our dog’s last bowel movement instead of sharing the miracles God has been doing in our lives, or encouraging one another.
We (I’m including myself here) are in LOVE with the WORLD.
We are in LOVE with ourselves, and can not get enough!
But there’s emptiness, there are holes in our hearts that entertainment, alcohol, or women (or men) cannot fill. Sure entertainment might distract us, alcohol may numb the pain, and women will comfort us, but these things will only work for so long. Their effects are not permanent or lasting longer than a blink of an eye. If these are the things you are using to self medicate, it won’t be long before their effect wears off. You’ll need more and more, but the holes are never filled, only made larger.
I’m not saying this to condemn you, but to beg and plead with you to WAKE UP!
My heart’s cry is to be radical, to shake off the scales that this comfortable life has put on my eyes to keep me from seeing my wonderful and loving God in all his glory and splendor. When I say that word, what comes to mind? Do you think of some guy in Time Square with a sign that says “The end is near”, how about a monk, or some fire and brimstone preacher who thinks that you and your dog are going to hell?
What I’m trying to say is that knowledge of God is good, but it will never save you or me. Jesus came so that never again would there have to be an intermediary between God and His people. But still so many of us want our pastors to become this intermediary so that we can go about our lives like Jesus never came. Let the pastor do the praying, let the pastor feed the poor, let the pastor do the evangelism. Let’s break down this barrier we’ve self imposed to save our comfortable lives.
So what is the new definition of radical? To me it is seeking a personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! Laying down our comfortableness with this world and seeking to be uncomfortable in the Kingdom of God. Seeking to hear God’s voice! Seeking to see God’s face. Seeking to be a sign and a miracle to the people around, your co-workers and friends. Give till it hurts, rest secure in the provision of God. Give to the poor, feed the hungry, get discipled, and begin to disciple.
This isn’t easy; the world has brought us up believing the lie that we are to live for ourselves. Today we need to make the conscious decision to die to ourselves, to stop seeking the “deadly addiction of esteem”. Live the radical life that Jesus called us to. The world has permeated us in ways we are not even aware of, but the Lord can restore us. He can re-kindle the fire in us, to be brighter than ever before. He can do more than heal our hearts; he can (and does) give us brand spanking new ones. He will renew our minds cleansing out the junk we have put in.
Break out of the cultural norms, break out of the Christian norms, and let your heart’s cry be “Come Lord Jesus”. Develop the personal relationship with God that he so desires, love him with all our hearts. Let’s pick up our cross and follow after him.