RADICAL FAITH FOR GENERATIONS: That’s the boiled-down, no-extra-words version of the outrageous goal I’m aiming at, in my family… and in yours.
You’re invited to join me as we discover what radical faith in Christ really looks like, how we get it, and what we must do to pass it along to our children
And their children, and their children.
Let’s dive in…
I may just be me, but the word “radical” seems to be a very trendy word these days. A quick Google search on the word brings up radical sports cars, radical skincare, and even radical bowling.
It seems like “radical” is way overused, and even misused. As I was getting opinions from Google Plus friends about the cover art for this podcast, one person said they didn’t like the name for exactly that reason. She said,
“Radical” is so overly used. I see this so much in Christian circles and in the world. With all due respect, I cringe at the word. For me, I’d not look twice, simply because of the word “radical.”
I get what my G+ friend is saying. Words can become so overused and misused that they lose their meaning entirely. And that is EXACTLY why I’ve chosen to use “radical” in my mission, and consequently, in the name of this podcast.
I want to redeem the word, to use it ACCURATELY to communicate a powerful point about Christian faith and the impact it should have in our families. In this inaugural episode of the podcast, I’m going to make a case for why the use of the word “radical” is entirely appropriate for my mission to spur families toward generational faith.
This should be fun.
RADICAL FAITH FOR GENERATIONS
You could call it my new mantra, my elevator pitch, my unique selling proposition, my “gotta communicate this before I die” mission.
The idea is so important to me that I’m dedicating the rest of my life to teaching what it is and how parents can position their families to achieve it.
Here’s what it means in a nutshell:
Radical faith for generations is dream to see generation after generation after generation of my family and yours living out passionately faithful lives in service to our Jesus.
Not one child a casualty.
Not one generation lukewarm or lazy.
Does that sound crazy to you? It sort of is. Our culture has worked overtime to convince us that following Jesus with that kind of dedication and zeal is too extreme. It could be embarrassing, personally risky, or cause tension with our coworkers or neighbors.
But the way I see it, Jesus did the craziest thing of all in becoming human for the likes of us… I mean, why would GOD become man? It doesn’t compute.
Yet He did it – out of love (John 3:16)
If it’s a crazy idea to think that families actually CAN pass the message of Jesus down through the generations effectively, then call me crazy. I feel like I’m in good company.
That’s because most ideas that change the world do sound a bit odd at first. They sound that way because they’re outside the box of what humans normally think. In fact, world-changing ideas are not only outside the box, they exist outside the realm of boxes entirely. They’re so unusual, so beyond the norm that the dull-eared masses write them off by calling them “crazy” and click over to YouTube to watch anotherstupid cat video.
But what if it’s not crazy? What if radical faith for generations is what families are supposed to be about in the first place?
THAT’s the thought that kept bouncing around in my head, so I had to find out if it could be true…
Let’s start with the radical faith piece.
I wanted to make sure I was thinking straight on this, so I went to our old friend Webster to find out what the word “radical” actually means.
Miss Webster, you’re on:
rad·i·cal adjective \ˈra-di-kəl\
: very new and different from what is traditional or ordinary
: very basic and important
: having extreme political or social views that are not shared by most people
That sounds about right to me.
Here at the beginning of the 21st century, as I look at the practice and impact of Christians around me, I’m not so sure we’re running on all cylinders. I don’t think I’m being too critical to say that Christians’ lives aren’t all that different or unusual from those of the people around us… at least not like Jesus’ was, or Paul’s or… well, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.
I think we’ve bought the lie that we’re supposed to fit in, that we’re not supposed to make waves. But when I look at Jesus and what His life looked like, I see waves all over the place. Don’t misunderstand, Jesus didn’t rebel against society just for the sake of causing a ruckus.
He lived on conviction rather than public opinion. He was more concerned with pleasing His Father than He was the people around Him.
That’s a radical departure from what I see around me today. And being honest here, it’s my struggle too. Too often, I care more about what people think than I care about what God thinks… and I’m asking Him to change that in me, to make me a lot more radical for His sake than I am.
In spite of what we see around us, radical faith is nothing new.
Want me to prove it?
Just think about your favorite Bible characters… the ones you saw on the flannel graph or videos as a kid in Sunday school.
- David – boy warrior and poet who killed a giant of a warrior with a sling because he was uncircumcised (don’t worry, we won’t go there – but if you don’t believe me you can check out 1 Samuel 17:26) and because he defied the armies of God. David had a type of faith that his own brothers, the whole army of Israel, and even the new King couldn’t muster up.
- Daniel & his three friends – guys who defied the ruler of the known world because he wanted them to worship false gods. Daniel was saved from lions, the other three – from a furnace of fire. When’s the last time you risked lions and fire as a matter of faith?
- Moses – infant river rider turned stuttering leader of a nation – the guy performed miracle after miracle to convince his stubborn, enslaved relatives to follow him out of captivity. His faith in God enabled him to put up with that sorry group of folks for over 40 years. Now THAT is some radical faith!
And in the New testament…
- There’s Peter – a simple fisherman who was called to follow Jesus. At first, he seemed to be a loser – always putting his foot in his mouth. But it doesn’t take long until we see a radical faith in Peter. Besides Christ Himself, Peter is the only person to have ever walked on water. Later in his life he healed many people, some simply by his shadow falling on them, and he even raised a woman from the dead.
- I’ll finish up with a guy named Saul – or Paul as you know him. His is one of the most radical conversion stories I’ve ever heard. He was traveling back and forth across his region, seizing and killing Christ-followers until Jesus showed up in a literal blaze of glory and knocked him off his… uhhh… donkey. Next thing you know, Paul’s preaching the message of Jesus he once tried to destroy.
So why did I ask you to pick out your favorite Bible characters? Because I want you to answer this question:
Why do we like the stories of those particular people so much?
I mean, why not Zerrubbabel or Bezaleel or Obadiah?
It’s not because their names are easier to pronounce… though that IS true… it’s because of their radical faith. Their faith enabled them to do things that we wish we could do. They stepped into risky circumstances with confidence and peace because their faith in God was radically strong.
Those are the folks we want to be like.
They’re folks who had radical faith.
So like I was saying, Radical faith is nothing new…
It’s the kind of faith God intended from the beginning.
And it’s the kind of faith Jesus came to restore.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
- It’s the kind of faith that relies on the grace of God instead of rules.
- It’s the kind of faith that says a definite “NO” to any way of thinking, feeling, or behaving that brings dishonor to God.
- It’s faith that believes that God says what He means and that we can trust Him to do what He says He will do.
- It’s the kind of faith that not only believes… it acts on what it believes.
That kind of radical faith is what fueled Jesus’ life.
It may sound funny to say that Jesus had faith. He was God after all, right? Yes, He was fully God – but He was also fully man… and as a man, Jesus had faith – radical faith.
The gospel of John tells again and again how Jesus lived in complete dependence on His Father in every situation. Not once did He take matters into His own hands or make His own call — about anything. That’s pretty radical, don’t you think?
Radical faith is also what Jesus taught
But the people of His day didn’t understand it.
They were used to rules aimed at pleasing or appeasing God. They were used to looking a certain way in front of certain people at certain times. – But Jesus talked about having a vibrant relationship with God that brought freedom from legalism and people pleasing.
They were used to religious boxes – but Jesus, as the very best of world-changers, talked outside the realm of boxes entirely.
That’s a departure from normal. THAT is radical.
And this is where we get to the family…
Radical faith was God’s marching orders for the very first family.
The story of Adam and Eve is pretty non-ordinary. To start with, Adam was fashioned from dirt and the breath of God, and Eve from Adam’s rib. I bet you won’t find that in any textbooks on human reproduction!
They lived in a garden, the first vegans.
They lived under the rule of God Himself.
The relationship they enjoyed together existed at the pleasure of God. No other reason. They walked with Him daily, enjoyed His presence, and thrived because they did.
One of the only commands God gave to them was to “be fruitful and multiply.” Sin hadn’t entered the story yet, so that meant that Adam and Eve were to reproduce according to their own “kind;” they were to raise children who walked in faithful, rich relationship with God just like they did.
Then came the serpent.
Then came the fruit.
Then came the outlandish notion that maybe God wasn’t so trustworthy after all.
They rejected God’s good rule over their lives in favor of doing things their own way. They made a box… an “I’ll do it my way” box, and they climbed right in… and they took their children with them.
That’s when dependent faith in God, the kind God intended from the start, seemed “radical” for the first time.
Fast forward to today.
Sadly, we haven’t moved very far from that first bite of forbidden fruit… in spite of what Jesus has done to fix things.
For the most part, even among those who call themselves Christians, we’re still living independent lives devoid of vibrant relationship with our Creator. I think that’s what I’m seeing… lives lived OUR way, instead of God’s way. We’re living inside our own box, the “do it my way” box. It’s comfortable and secure… sort of. But what we don’t realize is this:
It snuffs out the light and life of God. God says it this way, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
The “do it my way” box is killing us.
If radical faith for generations has any hope of springing to life in my family and yours, that’s the first thing we’ve got to see.
We’ve got to believe not only that we can get out of the box, but that it’s vital that we do. We can’t continue living life our own way, independent of God’s leadership and blessing.
We’ve got to become:
- People who know God, not just know about Him
- People who love God with their whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.
- People who orient their entire being, and consequently their lives, around the fact that Jesus is King.
Radical faith is life entirely outside the realm of boxes.
NEXT TIME on RADICAL FAITH FOR GENERATIONS:
We’re going to do a deep dive into scripture… to uncover how radical faith in you and I can impact our families long-term.