Anybody reading the Sermon on the Mount will note its radical stance, verse for verse. The gospel is a radical message. The Christian faith is, itself, a radicalised way of living life. There is nothing normal about it.
Yet, all Christians will inevitably find themselves living non-radical, normal lives by default; unless they will expose themselves continually to God’s flagship virtues: truth and humility.
The world would call such a normal life—if the same sort of thing were to occur to someone worldly—a rut.
Living untransformed, is for a Christian, a spiritual rut. This is no condition for a Jesus freak to live; indeed, it is not life at all. It misses out on two critical values that scourge, and therefore define, the character of the believer in question.
The Self-Accounted Truth
There is nothing better, so far as God is concerned, than for a follower of Christ to be firmly in-dwelled in the truth regarding the discharge of their lives. Truth has an amazing power to transform us.
Jesus said that true worshippers would worship the Father in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Given that every moment of life can be a worshipful activity, the exercise of truth over those moments is pivotal. Yet, it is never God’s will to externalise the truth toward self-righteous ends. We may fight for justice, fighting the good fight against injustice, but truth essentially lives and dies at the personal level. This is the task of giving ourselves to discipleship.
The real Jesus freak falls in love with knowing the truth about themselves, and whenever God reveals intonations of sin in their lives they seek to root out all symptoms and the cause—a heart given to deception and compromise and a mind given to double-mindedness cannot be tolerated.
In a world foreign to truth, a rigid commitment to honesty is a radical trait.
The Other-Accounted Humility
Whilst truth has a direct bearing over our internal spiritual worlds, humility is the commensurate gauge so far as values are concerned for our approach to others.
We cannot exemplify the real Jesus freak if we’re not applying the golden rule consistently as far as others are concerned—we are compelled to think of and treat others as we also would want to be treated.
Humility is the way. It inspires us to listen to people with a heart for them, not focusing on what’s going on in our hearts and minds. It goes beyond communication to action. It therefore involves sacrifice. We cannot get the Sermon on the Mount message if we don’t understand and apply humility. Humility is genuine love to our fellow human beings—even, at times, against ourselves. Humility is, therefore, a radical character trait.
The Jesus freak has the uncanny sense to apply the blowtorch of truth to their personal lives, all the while applying the uncommon grace of humility with all others. Of course, we all fall short. The secret is in aspiration, not self-condemnation for failure; a resiliently obedient approach to discipleship, resisting overtures to compromise.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.