Three Ways to Be a Radical Christian
Jim DalyJim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
- 2013 May 22
What’s it all about?
The “radical Christianity” movement encourages believers to eschew the relative comfort of our middle-class American lives in favor of walking out our faith with abandon.
I agree wholeheartedly that God is more interested in our character than our comfort. I also agree that sometimes God’s call on our life requires moving out of the suburbs and into the inner city to serve among the vulnerable, while others are called to leave the U.S. for a mission field in a developing nation.
However, I’d like to point out that there are other ways to becoming a radical Christian. Here are three additional things you can do to chip away at your sense of comfort and go against the tide of culture.
1. Get Married Young.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with marrying later in life – but neither should young people feel they “have to” postpone marriage until they’re through with their post-graduate degrees and can purchase a move-in-ready house with a pool.
One of the reasons the age of first marriage for both men and women continues to creep upward is that young people are encouraged at every turn to finish school, get a good job and make something of themselves before they get married. Well, accomplishing all those goals takes a long time. It also sends the message that marriage isn’t something to aspire to – or, at least, that it takes a backseat to life’s “real” objectives.
As Christians, we know God holds marriage in high esteem. He created it, and He uses it to mold our character and teach us how to love sacrificially. This is why at Focus we advise young people who are strong in their faith to go ahead and prayerfully enter into marriage if they believe they’ve met the spouse God has for them. After all, there’s nothing wrong with moving into a small apartment and using secondhand furniture for a few years while you get on your feet – together.
2. Have Many Children.
More and more, childless marriages and small families are in vogue. I understand why some would want to take that route. Parenting is hard. There are sleepless nights with the baby and temper tantrums. Children can hamper a couple’s earning power (someone has to take care of those kids) and cause their parents to lay down their own lives in countless ways.
However, children also teach you to prioritize what’s really important. They can teach you more about the love God the Father has for you than a thousand sermons. They help us see the world with wonder and awe, and give us a heart of compassion.
In short, children are a gift.
3. Raise Your Kids to Love the Lord.
The culture isn’t friendly to Christianity. It increasingly relegates faith to something that should be practiced within the confines of a church because it’s “offensive” when it's boldly practiced in the public square. In today’s “me” culture, Christianity’s call to serve others in humility isn't going to be immediately attractive.
This is why raising children who love the Lord and live out what they believe in school and when they’re out with their friends is such a radical act. It’s also an act that can help change the world. So go ahead – give your kids a Christian worldview. Model to them what it looks like to discern God’s will in everyday situations by applying the principles of Scripture. Help them speak up for truth, care for the vulnerable and love the unlovable. What a powerful witness godly children are to a watching world!
By all means – if God calls you to sell your home and give it all to the poor, do it. Just know that for some, living radically means getting married at 22, having five kids and buying a home in the suburbs. The same God who sends missionaries far from home plants families in Middle America who can be salt and light to their neighbors, colleagues and friends who need Jesus.
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