I’ve been mulling over the phrase “radical obedience” in my mind of late. Radical means far-reaching or thorough. That describes the type of obedience I long to have with Jesus. In fact, I would say it is the type of obedience demanded by Christ and required of all those who claim Him to be their Lord. Radical obedience is thorough. It is far-reaching. What it is not occasional or situational. Too many follow Jesus when it is convenient or expedient. When push comes to shove, their obedience wanes.
This type of obedience, which is no obedience at all, runs rampant through our churches and results in an abundance of nominal Christians. Practicing radical obedience should be the rule, not the exception. It is sad the opposite is reality today.
To practice radical obedience is to be obedient at all times and in every area of our lives. Since radical obedience is thorough, it must permeate every corner of our hearts and minds. Nothing is exempt from being obedient to God. Nothing is off-limits. I find it easy to be obedient in some areas of my life, but difficult in other areas. Those are the areas Satan loves to attack most, and disobedience in those areas has become a well-trodden path of habit over many years. But those areas must be brought under the Lordship of Christ if we are ever to be fully devoted to Him.
Practicing radical obedience is also far-reaching. Again, no area is off-limits. Nothing is hidden. We surrender all or we surrender nothing. There is no conditional surrender in the Kingdom of God. We are either for Him or against Him (Matthew 12:30). We are either all in or left behind (Matthew 7:18-23). Radical obedience is the next step in our walk with Jesus. It’s the deeper life, meaning, and relationship we desire. But make no mistake, this step is not optional. Following Jesus requires our radical obedience (John 14:15; Luke 14:25-27).
It’s easy to say the words. It’s easy to say we commit our lives to practice radical obedience to Christ. It is another thing to live as we mean it. Radical obedience requires making difficult and painful changes in our lives. It means putting aside things we enjoy but know do not bring glory to Him. It means changing our entertainment choices and perhaps even changing our friends. Radical obedience demands we look like Jesus in every aspect of our lives.
Break this down for yourself and make it practical. What areas of your life need to change in order to be obedient to Christ? What entertainment choices must go? What relationships do you need to end? There are ingrained habits you need to replace with ones honoring God; what habits do you know need to be overcome?
Practicing radical obedience is not optional. It is the key to a life lived well with Jesus. Our choices will either align with God or with the devil. There is no half-way in this life. We call Him Lord, and we prove He is by following Him with radical obedience. Is He your Lord in truth or only when convenient? We need no more nominal Christians. We need those who will follow Him with radical obedience.