Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We need MORE Radicals

In light of the recent shooting in Tuscon, Arizona, there are many people pointing fingers. There doesn’t appear to be any question regarding who did the shooting. The shooter did, in fact, get tackled at the scene.

Commentators of all sorts have been laying blame for the incident, however. Political hay is being made by those who claim that rhetoric (mostly “right wing”) is responsible. Now we have many calling for a cooling of the rhetoric.

I, on the other hand, declare that what we really need in the United States is more radicals.

Understand that what I write here is intended for those who claim to be Christians. It won’t make sense to anybody else.

The great military leader Joshua, as he was preparing to die, called Israel together for one last sermon. He was worried about them. He wanted them to remember the lessons of faithfulness they had learned about God. He told them that they needed to serve faithfully. This lesson can be found in Joshua 24.

“With Faithfuness.” he said.  Not with wimpiness; not with casualness; not with acceptance  from society. With FAITHFULNESS. What does this mean? It means that we serve him as radicals. We cannot be like everyone else. We must stand out.  In Philippians 2:12-16 we read this:
12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. 14Do everything without complaining  or arguing,15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe16as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ  that I did not run  or labor for nothing.

Shine like stars. Stand out. How? Well, in our society it can be viewed as both very easy and very difficult to stand out. It’s easy to find those actions and activities that are morally higher than those of our society as a whole. Our society is so morally bankrupt that being different is easy.

OTOH, it is hard for us sometimes to feel different; to be strange; to put yourself in a situation which marks you off and makes you a target. Here are just a few suggestions for living a radical life in a morally degenerate culture.

A.            Go to Church. We live in a generation that knows not Jesus. Some people attend church services when they get to it; when they don’t have anything better to do. God’s Word (Heb. 10:25) says that we should not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another. We can’t encourage one another while we’re at home (or at a bar, a bowling alley, or even a very important political activity) and they are at church.
B.             Nurture the Family. The enemy wants the family to be fractured. That’s why government makes divorce easy; has made living together without marriage more acceptable and legal; and wants to make homosexuality seem normal. God created the family. Satan – and his minions – want to destroy this medium of stability in society.
C.            Pray. Do you pray regularly? Do you let people know that you pray for them? There is power in prayer, friends. We are told to pray for our enemies; pray for the government; pray for one another. Do you pray in public? Let them see you. Let them know who you are – and whose you are.
D.             Dress Better. This one may seem out of place, but believe me it is one of the visible – and radical ways to stand out like a sore thumb in society. Do I mean that we should all wear suits all the time? No. I mean that we should not accept the lowered and sexually provocative standards of the society. I mean that we should look like Christians – modest, not trampy.
E.               Work. I know that some of you would like to have more work. Obviously this one doesn’t address you. But Christians are supposed to do an honest day’s work for a day’s wage. No cheating; no welfare. In Ephesians 4:28, Paul writes, ”He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” Did you get that. No welfare (obviously accepting some help in times of need is not the same as living on the dole); no mooching; work – and be ready and able to help others in need.
F.              Quote the Bible. How do people know that you are a person of the Book? No, you don’t need to become one of those annoying Bible thumpers. Many of them know the words, but don’t live them. What I’m talking about is being able to use a quote or a concept from the Bible in conversation. What’s the catch? You need to read it; know it; have some understanding about it.
G.            Be Committed. This is “The C word” today. Jesus said that we are to have our “yes” be “yes” and our “no,” “no.” This is not just about making oaths; it’s also about living a life of commitment.
H.             Give. Ah, he finally gets down to the nitty-gritty. There are many places in Scripture that tell us that we need to be giving people. We need to give to the church; we need to be giving to one another. This really befuddles people. Liberals don’t give. They are stingy. There are all sorts of polls and statistics that show this. If they KNOW that you are a giver – especially to the church – they will either try to get some of that giving or they will ask questions about that. Rich, who used to work for me in the newspaper business, once asked me if I gave regularly to the church. I told him that I was a tither. He shook his head. He couldn’t believe it. I told him why.

Live well. Do NOT be involved in violence. Stand out. Be a RADICAL. If you do these things you will befuddle the liberals - and probably be persecuted. Rejoice!