Being Extreme

Today, at A Holy Experience, we continue to write about--The Practice of Radical….living in Christ and with Christ.

Jesus

The dictionary calls radical: Departing markedly from the usual or customary; extreme

How does a wife become radical? How does a mother, move the world? Can a special education teacher change lives? A daughter, delight? A friend, be a motivator?

How does radical work in the here and now? Is it possible to live radically for Christ in the dirty and broken of today? Can I truly live this extreme for the One who loves extremely?

As a follower of Christ, I’m called to be radical. Unusual. Different from the world around me.

Make no mistake about it, Jesus was no pushover. He was considered a radical during his life time. He loved where others hated. He showed mercy, when others showed disdain. He did not back down from the leaders of His day, and was not afraid to call them out. He answered questions, taught through parables, loved the unlovable, changed the hard-hearted, prayed continually to His Father, and shepherded the weary. He was a light in a dark place and He led the way, even unto His death.

And I am supposed to conform myself to be just like my Jesus! Now, my friends, that is a radical thought.

How can I ever live up to that standard?  Simply put, I can’t. Not by myself, anyway.

 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus … Philippians 2:1-11 ESV

Radical living is about sacrifice.

Putting others before myself.

That is where truth meets reality….

and that is where radical begins.






Into His Image

This day, at A Holy Experience, we are writing on: The Practice of Joy…. What does it mean to choose Crazy Joy? How do we authentically walk through hard times? How do we practice the “gigantic secret” of Christians?

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Present

How do we choose joy?  Is true joy a choice, something we make for ourselves? Or does it just happen to us? A whim? A destiny? How can we choose to be joyful on a daily basis? And can real joy change our lives?  I’m not talking about happiness which is circumstance driven. Happiness is a fleeting emotion…it can’t be depended on. I’m talking about a joy that comes from knowing.

I was startled when I first read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. Her written words so closely echoed my own thoughts. I could relate, when she said, “When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become a gift? For He might not have.” (p.94)

Doesn’t it all become a gift? It isn’t difficult to find joy. It is there in the every day. Often times I am too rushed, too busy, too self absorbed, too afraid, and much too cavalier to see the joy.

There is something that happens when thanksgiving is being lifted up. Being thankful to the Giver of all Gifts, changes the heart. Each good thing becomes even more precious. Each hard and difficult time shapes me. As a follower of Christ, both of these things conform me into the image of Christ. As a follower of Christ I know that the greatest gift I’ve ever received is the gift of salvation. If I never was given another gift, He alone would be enough.

Jesus is the gift. He is joy…and it is through Him that all the other things make sense.