Radical Shift…What If…
What if we really lived the Word? Not just the parts we like. Not just the bless me and mine parts. But the parts that put others first. The parts that love others even as we love ourselves. The parts that require sacrifice. The parts that forgive. The parts that love our enemies.
God has really been challenging my walk, even challenging me to a radical walk. What would be different in the world today if those of us who call ourselves Christians, who claim to know Jesus, actually took the Word literally and set our hearts and minds to live it?
What if we truly lived out Galatians 5:14? “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What would look different i we really loved others as we love ourselves? If we love others as we love ourselves wouldn’t we care for them … wouldn’t we sacrifice for them … wouldn’t we be sure their needs were met? We would give of our time and our energies and our resources to take care of them as we take care of ourselves. That is radical loving.
I think of the New Testament Church and how radical they lived. No one claimed any of their possessions as their own, but they shared everything they had (Acts 4:32). That is radical living!
And look at Acts 2:45 … “And they sold their possessions (both their landed property and their movable goods) and distributed the price among all, according as any had need.” now that is radical giving!
And what about the hungry … the thirsty … those without a home … those in need of clothes … the sick … those in prison? These are the words of Jesus, “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40.
As I write this today, I’m sitting in the hospital room with my husband who has a severe outer and middle ear infection that has thrown his blood sugar, blood pressure, and white blood counts all out of whack. And I am also awaiting the arrival of a family that refused not to do something for us. They prepared a meal which they are delivering to our home and are going to walk our dogs. Today we are the least of these and they are caring for us … and in caring for us, they are caring for Jesus.
Radical living causes us to do something! ”Christ is connecting the command ‘to love God’ with the command ‘to love your neighbor’. By loving the ‘least of these’ we are loving God Himself.” Frances Chan
And what if we really loved our enemies like Jesus said we should? “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” Luke 6:35-36. If we radically love our enemies this way I believe we would see radical change in the world around us.
What about forgiving those who have hurt us? No matter how wrong it was or how hurtful. Forgiving as we have been forgiven … that is what the Word says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” Colossians 3:13.
It is too easy to settle into our comfortable Christian lives. What are we doing right now that really requires faith? Are we doing anything that will fail if God doesn’t come through? Are we doing anything that is making a real difference in the lives of others? Are we comfortably living or radically living our lives for Jesus?
I have determined that I want to live my life radically. I want to give until there is nothing left to give. I want to love with the love I’ve received. I want to forgive with the forgiveness I’ve received. I want to hear Jesus say to me … when you fed that child, you were feeding me, when you paid the rent for that person you were providing me a place to live … when you provided clothing for that woman, you were clothing me, when you gave a drink to a thirsty man you were giving me a drink … when you took the time and visited the boy in prison, that was me … when you took the time to care for the sick, you cared for me. When you loved any of the least of these you were loving Me.
A radical shift from talking about what the Word says to getting in the trenches and living what it says. Radical living … Radical loving … Radical forgiving … Radical faith … lives changed including my own.