This is something that struck me this morning, as I was reading through the last chapters of the gospel of John. In John 21, where Peter asks Jesus, “What about this guy?” (John 2121), Jesus answers, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.” (John 21:22; emphasis in you in the original language).
I’ve heard a number of terms over the years that get coined and discarded to describe the kind of Christians we should be. ‘World Christians’ was big for a while. For a while, the word, ‘Extreme’ or the creative spelling, ‘XTreme’ was used for a while. Now, the term ‘Radical’ seems to be used a lot.
The problem that I have with adding the other adjectives and superlatives is that Jesus didn’t do it. His call was to follow him – no words of radical, simple, world, sold out, surrendered and consecrated or extreme. And it may seem like this may become a desire not to be an average pew sitting Christian, however in your own church background and experience you may define, ‘average.’ And so that may also become a desire to be better than some others that you may see as average or below average in your experience – when Jesus’s call is to follow him.
So, if you do set out to follow Jesus, you may actually end up doing some of the things that may be termed at some time as being radical, world, missional, missionary, Spirit filled, or extreme – but it won’t be from attempting to be any of those things. And you will likewise avoid doing some of the foolish things when people try to be radical, world, missional, extreme or whatever, and they end up doing things that Jesus did not call them to do.