My beautiful wife was recently inspired to her own radical revival by the words of a passionate young provocateur. She’s always been a doer and we both embrace the salty message of reform, but I’ve never seen her so engaged, so energized to get her feet moving and hands dirty for Jesus. She had somehow concluded through this popular read that our lifestyle (even after losing our livelihood) was the antithesis of discipleship – Swing!
Realizing the depth of her concern we immediately discussed the idea and its author-prescribed antidote (a biblically defined RADICAL lifestyle). She expressed herself without ever knowing that her already-radical faith was on display. Within the next hour we’d wistfully ruminated through the vanity of wealth and dispatched our remaining possessions. We’d adopted a kid from every nation and hauled them with us to a place requiring mosquito nets. I listened respectfully as she spoke and thought of how much more faith it must take for the anchor to move the boat. (She is my anchor).
Romantic images of my family in safari gear, miming “Jesus loves me” and handing out bowls of food, flooded my visual riverbed. It looks like full steam ahead for the African Queen (Bogart)… count me in!But then something unexpected occurred. She asked me to read the book and give her my opinion. Now I love and live in the big picture. I hate looking at the checkbook, following rules and reading anything that I’ll have to possibly disagree with. But as the leader of my family I reluctantly agreed and God began to speak to me about this entire scenario. Here is what He said:
Fragile faith swings on a pendulum between pride (Peter’s drawn sword) and reproof (the crowing rooster). The harder WE push it one way the further it swings back the other way. Our job is not to be jury by perpetual motion, but to learn to listen to the voice of the judge.
Peter’s example of wildly overcompensating gives us hope that God will intervene if we are willing to listen. So whether He calls us to fight or be still, to stay or to go, only the hand of Jesus is steady enough to stop the swing of fragile faith. For my wife I conclude that we DO need to be radically different than the world, but the mechanism belongs to God alone. Perhaps Jesus was a radical, but I prefer to call Him the standard. Perhaps we need to sell our possessions but I prefer to dedicate their use. Perhaps we need to be missionaries but I prefer to love my neighbor and share with him. If the antidote is becoming a radical then let’s be radically intimate with our God. Let us directly personify the beatitudes before we indirectly characterize their sum total.
If we are called to be radical shouldn’t we define what that is by asking a few questions?
Here are several that I have – what about you?
1.) How would the original disciples of Jesus live and work in our environment? Can you see those people around us currently? Are martyrs and missionaries the only true disciples?
2.)Is there a role for material wealth in the church – what is Acts 4:32-37 saying?
The perpetual motion of flesh
There is a temporary and paradoxical comfort in perpetually overcompensating. We love to pendulum because it allows us to briefly taste and then retreat. We always want something new without losing the comfort of something familiar. We pendulum toward a dream like bobbing for an apple but if we miss we pendulum away from it and pretend that the apples are grapes (sour ones). If we dream too much we forget who God is, but if we bask in reproof we forget who He made us to be. It swings and returns.
Many bodies with only one part – A church filled with Pendulums, defined
Can we really define whether a man is a true disciple by the material things held in his temporary stewardship? The rich young ruler needed revival but Joseph of Arimethea was a revival.
What if Truitt Cathy wanted to be radical more than faithful to what God placed in his heart? Think of the thousands upon thousands of employees who wouldn’t have that Godly environment to work in. We thank you Mr. Cathy for giving us a place to eat where Christ is celebrated and the food is excellent! You are radical! Thank You Steven Curtis & Mary Beth Chapman for great music and a heart for parents called to adopt when they can’t afford it, and Thank you Rick Warren for reminding us that life was meant to be uniquely productive and setting an example in your own radical river of giving. Yes the American dream is perverted, but God’s dream is right on track in those who listen to Him radically.
If your heart is torn up over Africa then go! If you’ve been raked over hot coals for broken marriages don’t go to Africa!! Read and be inspired by the Godly firebrands who challenge us all to reform. They are right! As we pass through this world it cotes us in layers of cynicism and forgetfulness. Just keep in mind that God speaks directly to you about you –just as a good father should. Learn to listen – that is really radical.
Prayer of the warrior:
O lord, how sweet is your name and the sound of your voice in my heart. Speak to me that my Joy would be complete in learning to listen to you. Thank you Father for the fiery prophets, humble teachers, and generous souls, who live as working parts within your body. Cut away from us everything that doesn’t look like you. We ask and believe in the mighty name of Jesus, our Lord, Savior, King and High Priest – Amen.
Meditation verse: John 10:27
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”
On a personal note:
Our faith continues to grow as we walk head-on into it. We have food on the table, and many new friends thanks to our God. We are not going to be foreign missionaries as God has called us to support those who are. My plan for the blog is to find a balance by posting once a week on average. It has been difficult lately but so many have encouraged me to continue that I am scheduling the time to work more frequently (as God provides). My family and marriage are well in this walk of faith – God is so good! Thank you my sisters and brothers for your continued prayers!
If you need encouragement or prayers – if you just need a friend, please contact me.