[twocolumns]I hate being wrong, and I don’t think I am… at least not this time. The Bible describes Christians as “Salt”, “Light”, “Soldiers”, “Ambassadors”, “Peace-makers”, “Kingdom Recruiters” and targets of the world’s hatred. All of that sounds like Christians are called into an action-packed, high-stakes adventurous life. Sometimes it has meant martyrdom and cruel deaths. At other time it has meant wielding supernatural power and performing miracles. But whichever way it goes, it requires obedience and a commitment to God. And the return on investment could not be higher… The risk, regardless of how high, will last for a few decades at most while we are alive, but the rewards will last forever in eternity. Against this background of Biblical expectation, there are at least four types of Christians, categorized by behavior discernible from man’s perspective. As you read on, ask yourself the question, “Which one am I?”
First there is the “Inactive Christian”. This Christian is saved, and if such a thing was possible, he or she would be “barely saved”. Fortunately, for such Christians, that is not an option. For it is by God’s grace that we are saved… and that not of ourselves. It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). This Christian is never perceived to ever witness for Christ; is involved in no local Church activities; may not “deny” Christ, but definitely avoids any situation in which an acknowledgment of Christ would be an option. This Christian must not be confused with a Christian who maintains a low public profile, but over compensates for that with a rigorous and aggressive effectual prayer-warrior life. Usually, there is some visible evidence that helps to identify such a Christian who is anything but inactive.
Secondly, there is the “Active Christian”. This Christian is proud to be a Christian, and will let you know that, if asked. He or she is involved in local Church activity. He or she prays and studies the Bible regularly. But this Christian is very content with functioning in a group of other Christians, and does reasonably well in “defense” posture. This Christian is not going to be voluntarily crossing enemy lines, and definitely not alone. This Christian may not run from a “fight”, but is definitely not “taking the fight” to anyone.
Thirdly, there is the “Passively Radical Christian”. This Christian has reasoned out his or her beliefs more than the average person, and quite often, adopts positions on Biblical doctrine that differ from the majority view of the group to which he or she belongs. This Christian talks a lot among Christians, and even occasionally, mistakenly directs spiritual energy against those who do not share his or her views, and thereby treat them like the enemy. This Christian occasionally falls into the trap of causing “divisions” within the local Church, but never or very seldom engages the enemy of our souls in an attempt to rescue the lost and perishing from the Devil’s territory.
Fourthly, there is the Radical Christian Activist. This Christian is rooted and grounded in a strong prayer life, and studies to show himself or herself approved of God, a workman who rightly divides and interprets the Word of Truth, and as such, is a workman who does not need to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15).
This Christian is committed to Kingdom-building activities. Such activities may take a pastoral emphasis of training and equipping other Christians to “fight”, but never at the expense of personal engagement in Spiritual warfare. This Christian understands that the differences among members of the Body is understood, and possibly even reluctantly accepted by God, and never allows that to become divisive. That Christian protects the ideal of the bond of unity in the Body, and focuses most, if not all of his or her effort on doing battle, directly and indirectly, for the souls of men. That Christian sees the local Church as a petrol station, checks in as often as needed to refuel, and immediately heads back on the road where the action is at. That Christian takes the fight to the enemy, and knowingly does so, every time he or she confronts evil in our world.
That Christian as operates as “light”, and as such, never seeks cover under a lamp-shade (Matthew 5:15). Instead he or she looks for the highest hill from which to shine the light of Jesus into a dark world, and in today’s world, that hill must include both social and conventional media, with its world-wide audiences.
That Christian, operating as “Salt”, understands that for as long as the salt remains in the shaker on the shelf in fellowship with other grains of salt, it is useless (Matthew 5:13). To be effective, it must find its way into the decaying society, and at least halt, if not reverse the putrefaction process.
As an Ambassador, that Christian understands that he or she is relatively useless in the land of his or her nationality, but takes on powerful representative authority on foreign soil. So whereas as an Ambassador, he or she frequently comes to Church and renews and updates instructions and reports relevant information, it is on foreign ground that he or she functions as the representative of the one from whom he or she gets their mandate. That Christian understands that we are citizens of heaven, and are under a heavenly mandate. But as Ambassadors, we are commissioned to represent the King of Kings, on the earth.
As Soldiers, that Christian understands the value of dedicated training in prayer and Bible Study, and minor skirmishes including simulated ones, in preparation for the battles in which live ammunition is used 2 Timothy 2:4). That Christian understands the value of putting on the whole armor of God… and standing and withstanding the enemy’s attack in battle (Ephesians 6:10-20). That Christian understands the need for both defensive and offensive strategy, and employs the appropriate pieces of armor in each situation. That Christian understands that soldiers defend conquered territory, as well as offensively conquer new territory. For that Christian it is:
Onward, Christian soldiers,
marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
going on before!
Christ, the royal Master,
leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
see his banner go!
For that Christian, death is always a real possibility, but never defeat or dishonor. For that Christian knows that General Jesus has conquered death and the grave, and now they both have lost their sting and victory. Fear is never a factor for such a Christian. That Christian is guided by the mantra, “peace when possible” but never, peace at all costs (Romans 12:18). That Christian never shies away from confrontation, but is always ready to respectfully give an account for his or her hope, and to challenge other to do the same 1 Peter 3:15). That Christian, understands social, political and economic strategies that are employed to oppress the poor and to marginalize the less fortunate, and speaks out against them (James 1:27). That Christian understands the moral values and principles that the Bible promotes, and openly challenges anything that is inconsistent with these.
There is nothing fanatical about the Radical Christian Activist, but that person is totally committed, completely absorbed in, and perpetually obsessed by his or her love for God, for God’s children and for the lost.
Which are you? Which would you like to be? I am grateful to God for all Christians 1 Corinthians 12:12; Romans 12:5). But understandably, Elijah felt that he was the only one left, because the other 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal, had bowed their entire bodies and were hiding “under the table” (Romans 11:2-4; 1 Kings 19:14-18).
It is very clear that of the four types of Christians, Jesus is the personification of the Radical Christian Activist. He was meek and peaceful and accommodating with children and the weak and those who came to Him for help (Mark 10:13-16), But he was viciously verbally and physically aggressive against those who sought to threaten His kingdom and mission. The Pharisees felt the sting of his tongue (Matthew 23:27). The money-changers and merchandisers in the Temple felt the sting of the whip (John 2:15). And even His beloved Peter was characterized as “Satan” when on one occasion, he stepped out of line with the Divine will and plan of God (Matthew 16:23). He made it clear that He cooperated with His attackers, only when it suited His Divine plan… and even so, their “triumph” lasted for no more than three days, before they suffered the biggest defeat this world has ever seen, when their worst nightmare came through, and he rose again from the dead (Matthew 27:62-66). And before He left this earth, He clarified the nature of the mission to which He commends His Disciples… “I came not to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). In this world you will be hated because I was hated… but fear not, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
If you are already a Radical Christian Activist, or prayerfully desire to become one, please let me know, there is a vacancy for you in The Christian Democratic Republican. Regardless of which category you are in, or even if you are in “none of the above”, join the discussion on this Blog… and share your point of view.[/twocolumns]