The Call to a Radical Life

Over the past couple of days, my daily devotions have been over the radical life that Jesus Christ has called His followers to live.  I remember hearing that word "radical" all the time growing up in the 80's.  Today, there seems to be a negative connotation to the word "radical".  When you hear the word "radical", what do you think about?  Terrorists?  People out of their minds?  People who have lost touch with reality?

I do not think that Jesus has called His followers to be terrorists in any sense.  As I read the words of Jesus, I do believe that He is calling His followers to live a life that is so different from the "norm" that they stick out like a sore thumb.  Hear some of the words of Jesus Himself...

  • "I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!" (Matthew 5:44 NLT)

  • "If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?  Even pagans do that." (Matthew 5:47 NLT)

  • "Pray for the happiness of those who curse you.  Pray for those who hurt you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek.  If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also."  (Luke 6:28-29 NLT)

  • "if you do good only to those who do good to you, is that so wonderful?  Even sinners do that much!  And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, what good is that?  Even sinners will lend to their own kind for a full return."  (Luke 6:33-34 NLT)

  • "Sell what you have and give to those in need.  This will store up treasure for you in heaven!" (Luke 12:33 NLT)

  • "Whoever is least among you is the greatest." (Luke 9:48 NLT)

  • "If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life."  (Mark 8:35 NLT)

These are just a few of the "radical" commands that Jesus said that His followers must live by.  I'll be the first to say that there are still areas in my life that need a lot of work.  But there is no denying that the children of God are called to be a "peculiar people" (Deuteronomy 14:2; 1 Peter 2:9 KJV).  The lifestyle of the believer and follower of Jesus Christ should go so much against the grain of this world's culture.  One fact that I've realized is that the world culture is not moving closer to God.  If I am not standing out as different in this culture, then I am not being what God has "recreated" me to be (2 Corinthians 5:17).

What areas of your life stand out as different from the world around you?  Are you seen as a "peculiar" person in this generation?  I would love to hear your thoughts.