“Radical” is not a Bad Word

Have you ever sat down and read the book of Acts? I’m sure that might seem like a really dumb question to some of you, but I ask it anyway because it is worth asking. Acts is the establishment and spread of the church that Jesus died to buy. We get to meet a lot of interesting people as we read through the history of the early church.

Peter goes from being an impulsive, hypocritical loudmouth to the first preacher. Saul goes from being a religious terrorist to the Apostle Paul of the Gentiles. A man named Stephen becomes the first martyr. Think about that—dying because you love Jesus. Would you do that? We meet people like Priscilla and Aquila who teach untold numbers about Jesus. We meet the Ethiopian Eunuch, a near-suicidal prison guard, and high-ranking philosophers whose world is literally thrown upside down at the words of Jesus and the movement of the Holy Spirit.

As I read through Acts, as well as the rest of the New Testament I begin to see something that will literally change your life. I am introduced to the idea of having a radical faith; living a radical kind of Christianity. Maybe it is something we lost along the way, or something we never had. Think about that.

So what does radical mean? Radical literally means “a person who advocates a complete and total change that is opposite to that of established ideas, cultures, and principles.” Often today, it has a very negative connotation. We think of people who strap bombs to themselves in “god’s name” and kill themselves and others. We think of people standing on the street corner with a megaphone shouting that everyone is going to burn in hell forever. May I suggest that isn’t radical at all. It’s actually quite normal. Case in point: turn on the news tonight. Weigh the amount of good news to the amount of bad news. Quickly you’ll see that the bad outweighs the good. So those examples I gave above, are not radical to our world –they are actually just normal.

I began to see that if we’re truly following Jesus, we are going to look like crazy people to the rest of the world! We will be radical. We will be revolutionary. Why? Because radical is not a bad word! Radical is actually normal to God! God’s people have been called, even by the Spirit, “peculiar,” right? Where is the radical faith the Apostles had? Why do we trust in our bank accounts and 401k’s to give us security? Don’t you realize that those things are just idols? Where’s the Spirit that changed the world two thousand years ago? Where is the “radical” today?

Church, those things are still here. We just have to be very honest and admit that we ignore them. We choose to live comfortably. We set up our lives so that we don’t have to depend on God. We aren’t persecuted like the first century church. We have become comfortable. Comfortable is normal. We don’t want that. God doesn’t want that. God demands our best and demands we follow Him and Him only.

It is time to go back to being radical for Christ. Time to step up to the plate and let God use us to change the world. God used some very ordinary people to change the world in radical ways through their courage, their love, and their devotion to Christ. Don’t you want to go down fighting as one of those? Or are you content to let somebody else do your job? Just something to think about.

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