Many of us want to live radical lives for Jesus Christ.
That is a good thing.
It makes sense that those who have been radically transformed by the work of Christ would live radical lives for the glory of Christ.
But what exactly does it mean to live radically?
This is where we sometimes go wrong. It is easy to make up your own ideas of what it means to be radical and to focus so much on your little rules that you don’t actually pay attention to what God says about what it means to live all out for Him.
Paul explains five characteristics of the radical life in Ephesians 4:25-32.
If you really want to be radical:
1. Tell the truth consistently.
The person who believes the gospel doesn’t have to manipulate people through crafty speech. The person who has denied himself doesn’t lay traps for people through sneaky talk. The person who trusts that God is for Him doesn’t have to attempt to get ahead by misrepresenting the truth.
You can count on a truly spiritually mature individual. You don’t have to worry whether he is only telling you half of the story. He’s even willing to say things that make him look bad. When he doesn’t know something for sure, he doesn’t share it as if it were certain. He doesn’t have to puff himself up in your eyes by pretending to know more than he knows, because he is certain he is justified by Christ.
2. Deal with your anger appropriately.
The person who has been transformed by Christ gets angry, but seeks to deal with his anger in a way that honors God. He knows how to be right in the right manner. He recognizes that anger can be dangerous, even righteous anger can go bad quickly and so he watches out for the ways the devil might seek to take advantage of him when he is wronged.
He is able to deal with his anger quickly because he trusts that God is able to avenge all wrongs. He can give things up because he is done trying to be God.
3. Work hard so that you can share with anyone in need.
The person who has been saved by God seeks to glorify God through hard and honest work. He knows that He will stand before God and that knowledge makes even mundane work meaningful. He keeps eternity in view and because he keeps eternity in view he doesn’t work simply to lay up for himself treasures here on earth but in heaven. The gospel makes him generous, to anyone in need. Whereas the spiritually immature person is always looking for excuses not to give, the spiritually mature person has a largeness of spirit that makes it difficult for him not to be generous.
4. Communicate in ways that build others up.
The person who is committed to living a truly radical lifestyle is careful about the way he speaks to others. He knows the value of words and chooses words for the purpose of serving others. He doesn’t have to speak to promote himself any longer because he knows he is loved by God. The joy he finds in being justified enables and motivates him to use his words for something better than selfish pursuits. He now looks to give God’s grace to those who are listening instead.
5. Pursue loving relationships.
The person who really knows grace doesn’t simply talk about it or preach about it. He has learned to show it in the ways that he relates to others. When you spend time with a truly radical person, you discover they are very slow to slander others. They don’t enjoy thinking angry thoughts. Instead, because they are amazed by the kindness of God, they are consistently looking to show kindness to others. They want to think the best of others. They are consistently coming up with ways to demonstrate that they are for others. Whereas worldly people are hard to the hurts and pains of others, the spiritually mature person is soft. He is sensitive. He is not a person who you have to convince to care about people who are in need, he is tenderhearted.
All throughout the history of the church, people have made up ideas of ways they thought they could please God. They have come up with their own lists of ways that people could really live for God, instead of simply humbly going to God’s Word and listening carefully to what He says.
Perhaps that is because while God’s plan for living radically may look more mundane or even basic than some of our grandiose ideas and plans, it is actually much more difficult because it requires that we deny ourselves and truly entrust ourselves fully to Christ.