Jesus tells His followers that following Him takes a deep commitment, involves suffering, and includes contention with the world. This call sounds a bit radical to us.
"Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?'" (Matthew 16:24–26).
Jesus is counter-cultural. He is a revolutionary. But, make sure you study and follow His strategy. For example, the "radical" Christian life is characterized by things like peace (1 Peter 2:23), forgiveness (John 8:4–11), Spirit-led living (Romans 8:12–17), selflessness (Philippians 2:3–11), active love for others (James 2:8), right perspective on this world and focus on the things of God (1 John 2:15–17; Matthew 10:37–38), and zeal (Romans 12:11; Revelation 3:16).
Radical Christianity requires a self-sacrifice few are willing to concede (Galatians 5:14; Matthew 5:9; Luke 10:30–37). Is this the radical Christianity you want?
Now, it is important to remember that along with this life described above, Jesus promised abundant life (John 10:10) and joy (John 16:22; Philippians 4:4; Galatians 5:22–23).
Additionally, we must take care not to repeat the mistaken zeal of others in Christian history who used radicalism to punish, insult, or harm others. Jesus teaches love, forgiveness, and tolerance while holding to biblical standards for His followers. His most caustic charges were leveled at the religious leaders of His day who insisted that others follow their rules and prescriptions (Luke 11:37–54; Matthew 23:1–39). A Christian should only be a radical in so much as it is radical to follow Jesus. Going to unbiblical extremes in the name of religion is not what Jesus had in mind.
Such radicalism is explored in David Platt's book Radical. The book claims to challenge believers to live a radical life of obedience to the Bible instead of seeking to fit into our culture. It's unfortunate that believing and following Christ is considered "radical." It should be the normal way Christians live every day.
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