Thursday, March 21, 2013

I Want to Live...

...a radical life.

There.

I said it. I desire to live the radical life. What exactly do I mean by that? Basically, I want to live like Jesus lived. And He, my friends, lived radically. Should I, who calls myself a Christ follower, desire anything less than that? I don't think so.

The problem though, is that I am much like Paul (aren't we all?). I often do the things I don't want to do and don't do the things I do want to do. My flesh gets in the way. I look at my life currently and think, "Wow, you are so far from radical." And the truth is: I am. I try my best not to compare myself to others, although, let's be real here...we all do that at some point. "Oh, well, at least I'm better than THAT guy over there." Well, ya know what? God doesn't compare you or me to anyone else. He compares us to the standard that He set before us. The beautiful thing about His grace and mercy however, is that it doesn't matter how often or how far we fall short of that standard...He loves us just the same. Thank You, Jesus. If I had to rely on what I DO to gain the love of my Father in Heaven, I dare say I'd be in some deep doo-doo. That, by the way, is the scientific term for "big trouble."

As I think about what it would mean to live a radical life, I wonder exactly what that would look like for me. I'm not entirely sure there is a clear right or wrong way to live radically (well, it would depend on your heart). Perhaps it's what simply takes you out of your comfort zone. Outside of my comfort zone. That's a scary place to be. But, I've ventured out a time or two and while it can be a bit scary and overwhelming, it is also quite rewarding. Oh, if I had the boldness to consistently live outside this comfort zone of mine. Why is that so hard? Why is it so difficult to just knock down the barriers and the walls and pop the bubbles that we encase ourselves in?

So what does radical look like really? I mean, I can think of some examples that pop into my head when I think of radical. Stephen in the bible (the first martyr) was a radical, stoned to death for refusing to stop preaching the name of Jesus. Paul and Silas were radicals, being persecuted for preaching Jesus, and worshipping even while being imprisoned in chains. Even my own Pastor comes to mind as I think of how he never locks his door, deciding that everything he has belongs to God anyway so if someone else just wants to come take it, they can have it because they obviously need it more than he does. That's radical to me. And while I'm being honest, I am so not close to even having that kind of "let me keep my doors unlocked" mentality. And, I would probably be whining and complaining if I were thrown into prison like Paul or Silas. I'm nothing if not transparent, people.

I've been a "Christian" since I was 5. I use the term "Christian" loosely because let's face it, I haven't always behaved like a Christian. People toss that word around so nonchalantly. So many think that just going to church on Sunday and having your "Jesus card" stamped makes you a Christian. Yet, out of their mouths spews profanity or negativity or criticism. They don't love. They don't forgive. They don't simply CARE. And let me be the first to stand up and say that I have been that "Christian." Many times they are called hypocrites. Oh, how many times I've been one. But that's not my desire. My desire is to show love like Christ showed love, to those least deserving. My desire is to forgive even when it doesn't make sense, like Christ forgave me while He was hanging on that cross. My desire is to care about the lost and the broken, every single one, the way Christ cared and healed and listened and served. I want to serve. I want to serve radically. I want to serve so that others might ask, "Why do you do that?" That's the question that would open the door for me to tell them about my Jesus. That's the question I want to answer. Jesus. Just Jesus.

I want to live for Jesus. And I think, in my tiny little mind, that living FOR Jesus means living radically. What are your thoughts? What does radical look like to you? I'd love to know.

As I am writing this (this post has taken me 4 days), I am reminded of the song by Sidewalk Prophets called "Live Like That." Here's the video:

Yes, I want to live like that.