We sometimes use words without fully recognizing their import. Radical is one of those words. To be radical, especially as it relates to spiritual change, is to thoroughly affect the fundamental nature of an entity—in this case, our relationship as the church with the culture in which we live. Radical doesn’t simply refer to superficial adjustment or adaptation, but to elemental, comprehensive change of the sort that leaves an eternal impact.
Today, on every spiritual and sociological front, we are faced with ideas that are endeavoring to radically shift what we have come to know as normative Christian values and behavior. We are literally in the midst of a spiritual tug of war. In tug of war, the key to victory is utilizing the strength of the entire team. While everyone’s weight counts, if you want to win, you’ve got to get some of the strongest members of the team in the right position. In these times, when it can seem as if the “home team” is faltering while the visitors, those newly arrived on the scene, are getting stronger, we need some spiritual heavyweights to go to the back of the line and serve as anchors!
While much of the church of Jesus Christ has been affirming itself and enjoying increasing doses of self-glorification, the enemy has snuck into the positions where we most need strength—our families and houses of worship. It’s time for the radical saints to rise up and grab the rope and give a big heave ho tug to recover lost ground. Generations are at stake!
Jeremiah 1:10 declares that the Prophet Jeremiah was “Set over the nations and over the kingdoms to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” This is a radical assignment to a radical prophet who would be used as an agent of confrontation and transformation at a strategic time very much like the one in which we are living.
This was also a time for repentance for the nation of Israel. God needed a radical mouthpiece who would be resolute in his loyalty and faithfulness to do His will. Clearly, we are in similar times today. “Repent” means to change one’s mind and turn 180 degrees, to go in the opposite direction. Nothing could be more radical! Israel was heading in the wrong direction spiritually, and so are we. “What is the wrong direction?” you might ask “And who’s to judge?” Well friends, never forget this: the wrong direction is the opposite direction from the direction that God is going.
I’ve won at tug of war before. It’s not easy. But when the entire team bears down and collectively lends its weight to winning, it happens. Jeremiah’s times called for it and so do ours.