The Radical Life: The Forward-Thinking Believer
In my most recent podcast "Radical Living" I
discuss the importance of believers living a life that is so contrary to the world’s standards that we are seen as radicals. The world is looking for something radically different. Many are discovering that what the world has to offer simply is not enough and does not satisfy. But as believers, are we shining the light of Christ that directs a hurting and spiritually dying world to the Savior? Or are we living as Christian Atheists: confessing Jesus with our lips but our hearts are far from Him? I contend that we have nothing radical to show a dying world because we are too busy trying to fit in and preserve our comforts rather than live a radical life for and with Christ.
We are not thinking as children of the age to come, but rather we think as children of this age. Let’s break this down further by looking at a familiar verse:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed
by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what
is the will of God – what his good and acceptable and
perfect.” (Romans 12:2 NRSV)
As I stated earlier, I believe that those of the Jesus following community are, for the most part, conformed to this world. We are consumed with the world’s ways and its tools. We are obsessed with Tik Tok and the latest trends it teaches. We worry about the latest fashions and being sexy enough on social media to get all the “likes.” When potential disaster strikes, we make sure we consume as much as we can without regard for others merely to ensure our own comforts.
Our minds, then, are not truly renewed.
What is interesting about the verse in Romans is Paul’s use of the phrase “to this world.” The Greek word Paul originally uses in this letter to the church in Rome is αἰῶνι τούτῳ which translates as “this age.” It seems here that Paul is throwing in some eschatological thinking in this verse. If we are not supposed to be conformed to this age, to what age should we conform? What does a renewed mind look like? I would argue that Paul is instructing the church in Rome to think like citizens of the age to come… as kingdom children! That, brothers and sisters, is the renewed mind: thinking as God’s kids belonging not to this age, but as inheritors with Christ in the kingdom or age to come. It is the epitome of forward thinking!
Let’s compare to another verse:
“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds
of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light
of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the
image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NRSV)
Paul makes reference to the “god of this world.” He uses the same words “αἰῶνος τούτου” referring to the god of this age blinding unbelievers to the gospel. Who is the god of this age? I will let you study this further, but I think it’s pretty obvious. If we are conformed to this age, which is ruled by demonic forces, then what does our behavior represent? That’s right: our behavior would, therefore, reflect this world/age. How can we shine the light of Christ pointing them to the Savior if our minds and behavior are evidently consuming and imitating the things of this age?
Important to note, the enemy being “god of this world” is not implying that he is sovereign or more powerful than the Most High God. According to Genesis, it is Adam and Eve that turned over their dominion of the world to satan allowing earth to be his domain (see Genesis chapters 1-3). Jesus came that he may restore these things to us through His death and resurrection which is why we have authority in His Name. When the Lion of Judah returns to earth to set things right again, the enemy’s time will end (Hallelujah!). God is still sovereign, and he is still and will always be the Great I Am. We are to present ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Rom 12:1), thus presented to us is a choice: to live as God’s children or to live as children of the devil (1 Jn 3:10). Which lifestyle are we exuding? If we have presented ourselves as a living sacrifice, is this obvious through our changed and renewed minds (which should be reflected in our behavior) or are we operating as secret Christian agents (Christians by mouth, demonic in deeds)?
Brothers and sisters, I don’t have to tell you what this age encompasses. Look at the news, look outside, look at social media, pay attention in your social circles and even at your church. We can see the things that are indicative to this age quite plainly reflected in everyday life. So, I ask: are we truly thinking like those who are kingdom citizens or as those conformed to this age? Would someone who was so hopeless and looking for something radically different than what the world has to offer see that difference in you?
If we fail to be forward thinking Christians – that is, not thinking and operating as people belonging to the age to come, but rather like those according to this age – then we are unable to do the following:
1. Discern what is the will of God:
What is good?
What is acceptable?
What is perfect?
Our walk as believers will be inept and corrupted by the world’s system as we are unable to discern, or determine, the will of God for our lives. Living a transformed life with a renewed mind through Christ is not only important for others to see but imperative for us to live the life that God intended for us to live (Jer. 29:11)!
Let us live a life as co-inheritors with Christ: as kingdom citizens belonging to the age to come. Let us be forward thinkers that point a hurting world to the Savior and truly serve the One who aligns our lives according to His perfect will.
To listen to the discussion about Radical Living and to hear how/why the LORD put this on my heart, please click on this link:
Further Scripture to consider in studying what a renewed mind in Christ looks like (practically walking out the Word):
Read all 5 chapters in letter of James. You won’t be disappointed.