This past month we have been in a series with our youth called Rad. We have been examining the radical way that Jesus lived and how we can make radical changes in the world around us. I think we can all see that the world around us is broken, and our culture is straying away from God more and more every day. We all want more love and peace in the world. How do we accomplish that? The book of James gives us some very practical straightforward advice on how we radically change the world around us.
1. Radical People Listen More than they Speak. James 1:19-20
This is one of the best ways we can love people. We are often quick to have our voice and opinions heard. It seems to be against our sinful nature to allow ourselves to take time to really listen to those who are around us. When we learn to listen instead of speak, it gives us opportunities to truly know someone's heart. Which then gives us opportunities to love them like Christ would.
2. Radical People Don’t Play Favorites. James 2:1-10
Pull out your bible and read those verses. If you are struggling to relate to the words James is using in this passage, replace rich and poor with other words; Conservatives and Liberals, Liberals and Conservatives, People Who are like me and people who are different, Christians and Non-Christians, Boss and employee, ect. James forbids favoritism. Why? Because we cannot bring people into a life saving relationship with Jesus Christ if we allow superficial things to influence the way we treat others. God made us all, and Jesus died for us all.
3. Radical People Watch Their Words. James 3:1-12
Our words have the power to heal and to destroy. Like a tattoo the things that we say can never be unsaid. James challenges us to think about the words we say. How can we sing to God on Sunday and insult our co-workers on Monday. How can we post bible verses on our social media feed but also leave a hateful comment on something we disagree with. How can we lead others to Christ if we are saying things that bring others down? Our words are a reflection of what is in our hearts. So how can we claim to love God and yet choose to say things that are divisive and destructive. Instead speak words that heal. Speak life.
4. Radical People Fight For Peace. James 3:16-18, 4:1-3
We are called to be peacemakers. This implies that peace is not something that happens naturally, but rather is something that has to be made. Our culture tends to be selfish. We want what we want when we want it. And when we don’t get it we fight each other. Jesus doesn’t tell us to never have conflict. Rather, when we have conflict our goal should be to strive for peace. Jesus fought for us selflessly when he gave his life for our sins. Are we willing to fight for others, and to fix broken relationships.
Jesus is pretty rad (meaning both cool and revolutionary). What about you? Are you willing to be radical? Are you willing to do something different in order to change the world around you and to show everyone the love of Jesus?
(Adapted from Grow Curriculum)