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Defining a Radical Faith

I see a growing interest in encouragement to sacrifice everything for the sake of the Gospel. I love that kind of passion. We see so many examples of it in Scripture and many are listed in the chronicles of faith in Hebrews Chapter 11. There have been a few times in my life where I’ve sensed a specific call to do something so drastic, so seemingly bizarre, so faith-stretching, that even thinking about those decisions today seems scary.

I wonder, however, if that expectation is unrealistic when applied to all of us at all times. Is it okay, should God allow it, to live a “normal” faith at times…to not feel like everything is on the line…but rather feel like you’re in a safe place…depending on a regular paycheck, in a steady job, with a healthy church…for example?  Would that be considered okay and still be considered radical in your faith?

Just asking…

Recently I was reading John 7:1, which says, “Jesus didn’t go where He knew there was immediate danger. There would be a time for this, but this was not the time.”

Of course, you should read it in the context….not just that context, but the entire context of Jesus’ story. There’s no mistaking, however, that at this particular moment…Jesus played it safe. He didn’t jeopardize His life for the mission…in fact He did the opposite. There would be a time when He would sacrifice everything…willingly…for the sake of the call, but this was a time to be wise rather than risky.

Here’s a bottom line where I’ve landed. I see lots of well-meaning people encouraging a radical, sold-out faith…and I’m totally for that. I think all of us should live that way, but my point is that will look different for all of us.

  • Living by faith may not require you to:
  • Sacrifice your family for the ministry…
  • Forgo earning an income to follow a call…
  • Risk your life to share the Gospel…
  • Surrender to full-time vocational ministry…
  • Sell everything and move to Africa…
  • Quit your current church…
  • Plant a church…
  • Ignore your safety to complete a mission…

There may be times God calls you to take tremendous risks of faith. He may ask you to sacrifice everything some day…or certainly be willing to…He may send you into dangerous moments…even be a martyr for your faith…

If that’s God call on your life…my best advice is to obey quickly!

But walking in faith doesn’t always require such extremes. The key is that you are willing to follow wherever He leads.

What do you think? Reflect on what I’ve written and give me your feedback. Help me think through this thought process.

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Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.