Posts Tagged ‘Radical’

Romans 12:9-12 — How do we love well? Paul calls us to go beyond the surface and really love.

Most of us have learned how to be courteous to others. We have learned to speak kindly, avoid hurting others’ feelings, and appear to take interest in others. We may be skilled in pretending to show compassion when we hear of other’s needs. We may even get indignant when we hear of injustices done to others. We can sit on our couches and get indignant over the beheading of journalist. We can drive through a poor part of our town and feel compassion for the living conditions of others. We may watch a Compassion International video on television and be moved to contribute to sponsoring a child. We may be moved to grab all the clothes that we no longer wear because they are out of fashion or don’t fit us anymore and take them to Goodwill. Paul questions us though. Are you really loving others?

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Recently, I have just completed reading the book by David Platt, Radical. In that book, David basically gives us this same challenge that Paul gives us. Really love the world around us. How do we really love? Let’s think about it from the perspective of loving your spouse, and if not yet married, your boyfriend or your girlfriend. In these love relationships, we let people get past the facade that we want to present to the world. We let them sink below our surface and see what’s happening under the surface of our waters. We let them in. We become vulnerable. We open all of our closets and let the see what’s inside. We open our dirty laundry and let it have air in front of them. Commitment deepens through our ability to be real. Our wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend love us more deeply when we are real, open and honest. Love allows us to go deeper into a relationship. So, how can we relate this to being a Christian in loving the world around us?

We must go beyond the surface the Apostle Paul tells us and David Platt tells us. You can never have a spouse if you don’t commit to going beyond the surface. Diving deep is what love is all about. We are challenged to really love the world around us. Instead of being indignant about Muslim radicalism and yet stay on your couch, go to the Middle East as a Christian missionary. Lay it all on the line for Christ. Help spread the gospel to Iraq or Syria or wherever it is dangerous to be a Christian. Instead of being disturbed by the poverty in your own town, go and work in those communities to help people lift themselves out of the desperate cycle of poverty. Instead of just giving away on the excess clothing that you have to Goodwill, be truly sacrificial and find a family in need and give them things that they need to survive and commit to being part of their lives. Instead of sponsoring a child in Sudan and feeling good about having thrown money at the problem, go to the Sudan and help feed a starving nation. Christians in the Sudan need our physical presence much more than they need our money. We need to get radical about our faith. God wants our souls to be stirred to really love the world around us. You can’t do that sitting on the couch. You didn’t get your wife to fall in love with you and marry you by sending her an email once a month. You dove in. You committed to winning her heart. You did what was necessary to get her to fall in love with you. That’s really loving. You were radical in your doing whatever it took to win her heart.

Let us be the same way in our Christian walk through this world. There is a world that needs us to REALLY love them. There is a world out there that needs us to do whatever it takes for them to understand the love of Jesus Christ. We need to be as goofy, crazy in loving the world around us as we were when we pursuing the woman we wanted to marry. We need to reach the world by being present in their lives. We need to reach the world with the gospel by casting care to the wind and diving into the deep end of the pool. Why can’t we be as passionate about loving the world around us as we were about winning the love of our spouse?

I did not say to myself, I think I am in love with Elena so I will send her an email expressing my affection. I did not send her money as an expression of how much I loved her. I committed to winning her heart. I did whatever it took. I became part of her life. I didn’t take her initial rejection of my first date offer as the end of it. I worked hard in the trenches of our relationship to get her to fall in love with me. Let me have that same zeal when it comes to loving, really loving the world around me. Help me to go beyond surfacey love for the world around me. May I have that willingness to do more than be part of major church events that help the community and be happy with that. Help me to see that the event is training for how I should be living my life daily rather than the event itself being my sole attempt and loving the world around me.

Let’s go crazy. Let’s get radical. Let’s do what it takes to really love the world around us. Really love.

“All too often, we view heaven as the default eternal state for humankind. We assume that our race simply deserves heaven, that God owes heaven to us unless we do something really bad to warrant otherwise. But as [the Apostle Paul tells us] in Romans, this theology is just not true. All people are guilty before God, and as such the default is not heaven but hell.” — p. 147, Radical, by David Platt.

To dissolve ourselves of the need to share the gospel, we have made it easier for the hard truth of the Bible to swallow by saying that all religions are the same and that they all lead to God. This absolves us of the urgency that the Bible calls us to. We are comfortable. Don’t give us something hard. As David Platt goes on to say, “Many professing Christians have come to the conclusion that if certain people around the world (and I add, here at home) don’t have the opportunity to heart about Jesus, then this automatically excuses them from God’s condemnation.” There is no biblical evidence to support this idea. We all stand condemned for rejecting God whether we have heard of Jesus or not. This is the hard truth of the Bible. But, God did give us Jesus as the one and only way out of the condemnation, the default state of hell, that we deserve.

In deluding ourselves that all roads lead to heaven it has made evangelism the job of some specially trained on-fire go-getters. It is not someone else’s job. It is ours. There is a whole world outside our door, outside our country that have never heard of Jesus. Why does this not break our hearts? Why does this not energize you? Why does this not energize me? We should be aching for the lost here and around the world. If we believe the Bible as perfect and true (and it is), people will not go to heaven unless they know Jesus as their Savior. No alternate gospel of it’s OK whatever you believe. No exceptions for those have not heard of Him. We all reject God. We stand condemned, all of us, in the absence of Jesus. This should be our desperate passion. It should make us hurt and ache.

Father, help me to not blow this off. Help me to want it. Help me to be so moved by this that I never forget. Help me to care about the destiny of souls who have not heard the gospel. Help me to care about it. Help me to be so stunned that someone might go to hell without having heard of Jesus that it moves me to action instead of sitting on the sidelines. Amen.