Today I have a piece from Lynn B Fowler and her book Real, Radical and Revolutionary – Building Kingdom Relationships with God, with Each Other and with the World.
God is calling His people to a kind of Christianity that is vastly different from what we see in most of the church today.
He is calling us to a kind of Christianity that is first of all real: it is about our relationship with Himself. Many in the world – and even in the Church – today see Christianity as simply a philosophy or a set of moral standards that are loosely followed. Others see it as a “religion” in which set formats and rituals are observed. True Christianity, however, is all about an eternal relationship with Father God through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is about spiritual reality, not natural observances.
Man is a three-part being, spirit, soul and body, and it is man’s spirit that was created and designed for a relationship with God. True Christianity is spiritual. That is not to say that the soul faculties of intellect, emotion and will do not operate, but rather that they operate under the control of the human spirit. So true Christianity does not seek to come to Christ through emotion, but rather by the drawing of the Holy Spirit, who will then transform our emotions and fire us with passion for God. It does not follow intellectual rabbit warrens trying to find “the real Jesus,” but allows the Spirit of God to reveal Him. It does not grit its teeth and try its hardest to do its best to serve God, but rather allows the life of the Spirit within to transform the human heart and will.
True Christianity is real in its relationships. It does not put on a religious facade and pretend, either with God or man. Nor is it shallow, seeking to relate to God and man at only the surface level; rather it gives itself fully. It seeks God for Who He is, not just for what He can give; and it makes itself available to God not just in outward performance and appearance, but at the deepest levels of intimacy.
It is real in its honesty. It knows that God knows every area of the human heart, and it does not try to cover up sin, but comes to God in open repentance.
God is calling us to a kind of Christianity that is radical in its relationship to others in the Body of Christ. In its original meaning, radical referred to “from or of the root.” True Christianity is the kind presented and practiced in the Bible. It is not satisfied with a westernized, comfortable, demand-free version of the Gospel. It insists on getting back to the standards of the Word of God.
Nor is it willing to accept a religion that puts band-aids over problems rather than getting to the root cause. It wants to see the ax laid to the root of the tree, to see the old life done away with not just prettied up. Its God is not a benign grandfather who pats people on the head and turns a blind eye to their continued sin, but the One who comes as consuming fire to burn out all that does not measure up to His glory.
Neither does it hide behind a facade of “niceness.” Of course, it does not go out of its way to be obnoxious, but it recognizes that there are times when issues must be confronted; that there are times when the most loving thing to do is to be “not nice.”
At the same time, it is prepared to humble itself and admit both guilt and need.
In its modern, commonly accepted meaning, radical also refers to something that is different from the norm, even to the point of being extreme. True Christianity moves out of its comfort zone, being prepared to be totally different from the world around it. It is bold enough to say, “There is only one God, and only one way to God, through the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is courageous enough to call sin, sin; and to proclaim the reality of hell as well as heaven. It knows that compromise and “tolerance” were never part of the Gospel.
God is calling us to a kind of Christianity that is revolutionary in its relationship with the world. It was said of the disciples in the book of Acts that they had turned the world upside down. Revolutionary refers to an overthrow of the existing government, and the installation of a new government. True Christianity overthrows the old government of self, sin and Satan in our lives and installs the government of the Lord Jesus Christ. From there, it seeks to go on to overthrow the old government (that of Satan and his cohorts in the spiritual realm, not necessarily the human government) over our neighborhood, our city, our country and our world, and to bring each under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. True Christianity knows that the Gospel is not about us, it is about the King and His Kingdom, and it will settle for nothing less than establishing the Kingdom of God throughout the world.
Like all radical and revolutionary ideas, this kind of Christianity is dangerous. It is dangerous to that within each of us that would prefer a comfortable, easy existence. It is dangerous to the kingdom of darkness. It is dangerous to those who embrace it, for it confronts both ourselves and those around us, not to mention the predominant spiritual forces in the world.
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