Are you a radical Christian?
And do you have the right fuel?
Published: 5 October 2017 (GMT+10)
Previously published in a CMI newsletter, January 2017
If you want to keep a fire burning at a certain temperature, a crucial element is having the right fuel.
Almost every Christian can think of motivational books, conferences, and sermon series which are intended to encourage us to act on our faith more radically—and there is no shortage of ways we could do this. Whether mentoring inner-city youth, street preaching, or missions, Christians are presented with a dizzying array of needs to be met.
It might be noted that only in Christianity is radicalism in faith marked by greater service to others and self-sacrifice, as opposed to others where radicalism leads to such things as violence, or withdrawal from society.
Many of us need the encouragement to be more intentional and more ‘radical’ in our Christian lives. And Scripture itself urges us in this direction as well. The Apostle James had some pretty radical words for us when he said:
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14–26).
Many Christians generally feel dissatisfied with their current serving, giving, and devotional patterns. But if all that is motivating this heightened commitment to living out our faith—i.e. if it is driven by concern for other people or commitment to social causes—we will inevitably ‘burn out’, because enthusiasm or compassion alone is not enough to keep us going. Rather, our motivation must be grounded in something strong enough to keep that passion going—it helps to have a foundation in Scripture itself that pleases its author—Jesus Christ.
The biblical fuel for a radical faith
The biblical writers never offer practical teaching by itself; rather, it is always grounded in who God is and our relationship to Him. The doctrine of creation is foundational to this, and it gives real motivation to be ‘radical’. This starts with the renewing of our minds. Romans 12:2 says:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Most people have been educated from secular sources. As such, our minds were conditioned to accept evolution as fact, and even as the way God created. But when we realize the truth of God’s creation as described in Genesis, that helps transform our thinking, which has implications for how we relate to others in the world.
There is nothing quite like creation teaching for creating excitement, confidence and renewing our minds to trust God at His Word. For example, Jeffrey N. said:
“I wanted to take the time and say thank you for all of the hard work that the staff and administration do at CMI. It is a blessing beyond measure to be able to wield the sword of the spirit with the courage and conviction that what God's Word says, is true, and that science affirms that fact at every turn. Thank you for all you do.”
If you want motivation to help the disadvantaged, or the boldness and confidence to witness to others, then realize that all people, regardless of ‘color or creed’ are descendants of Adam and Eve. Biblical history demonstrates that we are all really closely related and made in the Creator’s image. Christians already give more to charity and adopt more children than non-Christians; how much more could be done to change our world if the biblical creation foundation became even more of a motivation?
At church events, our speakers consistently report how people get excited as they see how the Bible can be trusted from the first verse. They go out with a renewed confidence in Scripture, and that affects how they share the Gospel and live out their faith.
Chris W. wrote in saying that creation information was key in encouraging him:
“CMI has been one of the leading websites that brought me back on track blazing for Jesus. You guys are so helpful, definitely defending the faith.”
I read "Are You a Radical Christian?", expecting to rate myself against missionaries and preachers. I was encouraged to find that instead, the article takes us back to the Bible and God's standards. Thank you for that.
There is no "moderate" Christian or "radical" Christian.
You either a Christian or you are not.
Jesus dying on the cross was not moderate. He was radical in His mission.