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Living Radically For Christ

Written by: James Greene

David Brainard once said,

“It is impossible for any rational creature to be happy without acting all for God. God Himself could not make him happy any other way…There is nothing in the world worth living for but doing good and finishing God’s work. Doing the work that Christ did. I see nothing else in the world that can yield any satisfaction besides living to God, pleasing Him and doing his will.” 

When I read about people like David Brainard and the countless other missionaries who gave their lives to accomplish the work of the mission, I am convicted and challenged by how seriously each of them took the Word of God. 

I grew up reading all their biographies, stories of how they traveled halfway across the world and gave their all for Christ, holding nothing back. They were often unbelievably depressed and discouraged, faced with challenges and trials we cannot even imagine having to bear. Yet, these men and women held such a deep belief in God that they continually acted radically in accordance with His Word and endured. 

They were not always careful. They were reckless.They didn’t just obey what The Lord told them to do, they went headlong into whatever He called them to with complete abandonment to His will and a disregard for their own wants, desires, safety, and comfort. To them, it was God first and only God. They literally presented their bodies as living sacrifices unto Him. 

They gave up safe and comfortable careers, homes, fortunes, and ties with family, who oftentimes thought they were crazy. They gave up their own personal desire for security, sometimes to the detriment of their own health and safety. 

They gave up everything that this world has to offer and instead invested their whole lives in Glorifying the One who created them by reaching the nations of the world with the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Their walk with the Lord wasn’t casual or superficial it was real and it drove them to do extreme things for God. 

They remind me of the inner circle of Christ. Peter, James, and John. These guys were known as Christ’s inner circle because they were always with Jesus at some of the most significant times in the Bible when the other disciples weren’t. 

They were Christ’s mighty men in a way. Because they were brash, they were extreme, they expressed another measure of devotion that I don’t think we see from many of the other disciples. These men were willing to do radical things for the Lord regardless of the consequences or outcomes. 

Jesus poured more into Peter, James, and John than He most likely did with the rest of the disciples. You know what He also did with them more than He did with the rest of the disciples? He rebuked them and chastised them more. 

Jesus was constantly correcting them. When James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven to burn up an entire city that rejected Jesus, He had to rebuke them.

When Peter cut off the ear of the servant of the High priest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus has to yell at Him.

When all three fell asleep in the Garden, Jesus had to chastise them.

Despite their flaws, which appear to be many, Jesus seems to regard these three as pillars of the church and leaders of the other disciples.

He had a special bond with them that, it appears, He did not have with the others, or at least not to the same extent. 

These three in particular, almost never left Jesus’ side and accompanied Him in some of His greatest moments of Glory. They were also present for some of His darkest moments. 

They were with Jesus when He raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead in Luke 8:49-56, They were with Jesus on the mount of Transfiguration in Mark 9: 2-3, and of course, they were with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane where they witnessed Him sweating the drops of blood before He was to be handed over and crucified in Matthew 26:36-38.

Church, I want to encourage you to live your life for God in a way that is radically different from everyone else around you. You will probably make a mess. You will most likely make mistakes. However, I would rather run hard after God and make a mess of things than miss out on what He is doing. Because I know that when I go out there in my zeal for the Lord, to love Him and serve Him passionately, sometimes I mess up and I make mistakes.

I have assurance, though, that Jesus is always there to rebuke me when I need rebuking and He is always there to encourage me when I need encouragement.

Even if my mistake were so severe, that I had cut off someone’s ear. 

He is always there to pick up the ear and put it back on the head. 

I want to challenge you to take your relationship with God so seriously that you will be bold. Be courageous. Do the crazy thing for God. God is going to humble you, He’s going to teach you and rebuke you. I, however, would rather live my life giving my all for Him and at the receiving end of His chastisement, than in a place of complacency and timidity. 

In Jesus name



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The Keystone Project is a global missions network of churches and leaders committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.

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