If you knew the world was about to end, what would you do? I mean, seriously; if you knew that it was all going down in just a few months, how would you live? I’d probably quit my job, sell all my stuff, and try to get really radical for Jesus. You know, maybe some street-corner preaching, maybe some 30 days fasts, maybe some crazy mission trips. If I knew Jesus was coming back, I’d want to get down to business.
In recent years, there have been a slew of books published which encourage Christians to be more radical for Jesus. To have crazy love for Jesus, which leads us to do crazy-awesome things for Jesus. To be world-changers for Jesus. To do hard things. To push the Jesus envelope.
And while I’m all for being radical for Jesus, we need to think carefully about what being radical really means. Fortunately, it’s spelled out pretty clearly in scripture.
In 1 Peter 4:7, Peter tells his readers that the end is coming. He says that, “The end of all things is at hand….” He wants his readers to be ready for the return of Jesus. He doesn’t want them to be caught off guard. After all, Peter was very familar with Jesus’ promise that he would come like a thief in the night, or like a master returning to his servants late at night. Peter wanted his readers to be living radically, because the end of all things was (and is) at hand. He wanted to awaken the sleepy and provoke the apathetic.
So, what does Peter tell his readers to do?
… therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:7–11)
Dang, son. That doesn’t sound too exciting. What about forming communes and doing crazy evangelism and fasting for weeks at a time? Where’s all that stuff?
It turns out that radical, passionate, end-times living looks pretty ordinary. Being radical means being self-controlled and sober-minded. It means earnestly, zealously loving your fellow brothers and sisters. It means showing hospitality with a cheerful attituded. It means using the spiritual gifts God has given you to serve those around you.
The reality is that being radical for Jesus usually takes place in the context of your home, community, and local church. Is there a place for mission trips, long fasts, and hardcore evangelism? Of course. But if you want to be consistently radical, you need to be aware of what is taking place right around you. Who can you serve in your community? Who can you love in your church? How can you use your gifts to serve your fellow Christians?
If the world was going to end in a few months, I would want to throw myself even more zealously into the lives of those around me. And given the fact that, “The end of all things is at hand,” I should be radically involved in my home, community, and church every day.
The end is coming. Are you ready?
Stephen Altrogge is a writer, pastor, and knows a lot about Star Wars. Find out more at The Blazing Center.