Based on the sermon series The Radical Road: Abandoning Yourself to Follow Jesus taught by Mike Romberger, Senior Pastor, Mission Hills Church
Sermon Title: Get Ready to Meet a Radical – Luke 1:1-25
Mike began this series by defining the words “radical” and “abandon.”
According to dictionary.com, Radical means extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms, or one who follows strong convictions or extreme principles. Abandon means to yield oneself without restraint or moderation.
With these definitions in mind, we could state that Jesus was a radical who abandoned himself to the will of God. And even though these two words don’t appear in scripture as descriptors of Jesus, they certainly apply.
The critical question is, Do these words apply to me? Or, What would it take for these words to apply to me?
Honestly, what are the words that others use to describe me, as best as I can tell? I don’t mean, what are the words I want people to use to describe me, but what do they really say? I’ll hazard to guess a few: Helpful, competent, confrontational, honest, and willing to take risks. But Radical? Abandoned? Probably not.
To be labeled radical today I’d have to go out and try to do something extremely different from what is normal, maybe selling my truck and adopting a walk-only mode of transportation so that I can give more money to those who need bus passes (not practical). To be called abandoned today, I should jump into something without restraint, like exercising till I drop from exhaustion (not likely). But I think that would be altogether missing the point.
Radical and Abandoned are not words we set out to establish as self-describing adjectives. They are the bi-product of life lived a certain way. They describe a pattern of living rooted in deep convictions. Jesus pursued the will of the Father without restraint, and as a result he lived an extraordinary life that was way beyond normal, conventional living. He was radical, not because he set out to be radical, but because he never let up in his pursuit to know and do what was right in the eyes of God.
And that should be my focus today. Not to live in such a way that merits a label, but simply to watch and respond to the opportunities that arise today to know and to do what is right in the eyes of God. And if I string together days, weeks and months of this kind of living, maybe these words will apply.
“Lord, I want to live a radical life abandoned for your purposes. But today, Lord, I just want to be aware of that singular moment that naturally arises which will force me to choose between the normal behavior of this world and what you would prefer for me. I believe, Lord, from your perspective that choice won’t be seen as radical, but simply the right thing to do.”