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MORE RADICAL CHRISTIANITY
by Philip Owen

When we speak of someone as being radical, we mean that something about him—perhaps his beliefs, his behavior, or both—are beyond what is considered normal.  Most people feel uncomfortable around those espousing radical opinions or demonstrating radical behavior—hence, the term radical, or extreme.  When we suggest, then, that real Christianity is radical, we are simply pointing out that the beliefs and behavior that the Word of God calls for in believers will not conform to the norms found in the world.  Furthermore, only someone who is truly saved and who truly loves the Lord will be willing to live a life that is viewed as strange by those around him.  For that and other reasons, living such a life involves self-denial and self-sacrifice.  As a consequence, far too few people who profess to be Christians meet the biblical standard of godliness called for in every believer.  The first psalm contrasts the “blessed man” (the godly) with the “ungodly” (the wicked).  In so doing, the psalmist offers a description of a godly man that should be considered typical but, in fact, is very rare.  Among other qualities inhering in a godly man or woman, the psalmist mentions these two radical ones in verse two.  

1.  Radical attitude:  “His delight is in the law of the Lord.”  We all know people who have Bibles, who read their Bibles, who memorize verses from the Bible, who readily talk about things in the Bible.  But how many people do we know who delight in the Word of God?  Who, if given the choice, chooses to spend time in the Word rather than going out with friends, enjoying some hobby or other pastime, or even spending time at the office or on some household project?  Truthfully, we probably know few if any (ourselves included?).  But the psalmist says that the godly person delights, or takes pleasure, in “the law of the Lord.”  And note the scope of his delight:  it is not just the encouraging promises and the comforting assurances that delight him; it is all the law, the entire book, the exhortations, the instruction, the corrections, the rebukes, and even the judgments.  Everything that God has to say to him is precious.  Any normal person could find many things in the Bible that might interest or even please him, particularly if taken out of context.  But the godly person delights in all of it because it reveals his God to him and brings him into harmony and fellowship with the One who saved him and whom he is delighted to please.  Though it should be the norm, that attitude is radical.

            2.  Radical actions:  “In his law doth he meditate day and night.”   Here is more radical behavior:  meditating day and night on the law of God.  Meditation suggests allowing the mind to dwell on some idea or truth.  The psalmist observes that a godly man turns his attention and focuses his thoughts on the Word of God.  His mind dwells on what God says in His Word and what He means by what He says.  The fact that he does so “day and night” suggests more than the idea that he is single-minded.  In the sense suggested here, it is good to have a one-track mind.  But again, the psalmist is suggesting more than the idea that his thoughts are continually consumed with the Word of God.  When he says that he meditates night and day, he is suggesting that, in addition to considering what God says and what He means by what He says, he is applying the Word to every area of his life.  His study is not a compartmentalized intellectual activity:  he seeks to live his life, make his decisions, govern his attitudes, order his values, and pursue his activities in accord with the Word of God.  He takes no vacations from following God’s Word in the daily affairs of his life.  He submits his desires, opinions, ambitions, and goals to the authority of the Word.  He does not pursue self will but God’s will.  Though it should be the norm, those actions are radical.  Are our attitudes and actions the biblically radical ones befitting a Christian who has been redeemed through Christ? 

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