3 Signs of Radicalized Christians
Earlier this year as a church we did a 40 Day Bible Challenge where we had over 3,000 people read through the entire New Testament. I think for a lot of people it was the first time they had actually read large pieces of the book they base their faith on. As we went along we gathered up questions that people were encountering. [Click here to check them out.] As I read through the New Testament I was humbled by how my life doesn’t line up with the text … my faith isn’t radical.
Somewhere along the line I think our faith can drift into the middle … the average. Rather than being a sharp tool impacting culture the edges become blunted. Rather than being a vibrant meal it becomes oatmeal. Rather than a soaring piece of music it becomes elevator musak. Specifically, here are three areas that I sense my faith is out of step with the Bible. These are signs of the radical faith outlined in the New Testament.
- Enemy Love. // “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5.43-45) I have a hard time loving the people the slightly annoy me. Jesus was speaking in the context of culture being oppressed by a brutal global power. How are we going out of our way to express radical grace to those people who are seeking to hurt us?
- Active Community Living. // “That there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.” (Acts 4:34-35) Throughout the New Testament we see a community looking to meet each others needs. In my life I have a hard time making space for others in my life … let alone finding ways to share in a way that mirrors that I see in passages like this. Radicals reduce the focus on individuals and raise the focus on the community.
- Simplicity. // “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11. Have you ever noticed that Christians that have a deep faith have an unnerving “settledness” about them? Rather than rushing from one thing to another they have found a way to detach from the frenetic nature of our culture. They live simple lives focused on the relationships around them and their Savior.
I’m not a radical. That’s probably not a good thing. Where do you sense your faith is out of step with the New Testament?