Thanks so much for taking the Radical Challenge and I am finding it is indeed a challenge. We struggled to find our way through the first month, while at the same time engaging so many other readers and bloggers in the process. After all, who doesn’t want to be radical for Jesus, at least a little radical, right?
Adopted from David’s Platt’s book Radical, here’s a reminder of what the experiment includes:
1. Pray for the entire world;
2. Read through the entire Word;
3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose;
4. Spend your time in another context;
5. Commit your life to a multiplying community (pg 185).
And my reflections from this month:
1. As you may already know, I’m taking a sabbatical from—well, just about everything—to focus on my prayer and fasting internship. Early in this journey, it became event to me one of the things God wants to do is equip me to successfully battle the enemy in spiritual warfare. One of the first scriptures he took me to was 2 Corinthians 10:4-5:
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (NIV).
We need to understand that when we accept the call to pray for the world, we are engaging the enemy on his home turf in a spiritual battle that he wants to win. Since our weapons are not of the world, we must train and prepare for even this battle. It is the power of the Holy Spirit within us that demolishes strongholds. Yet we have to remember Jesus teaching and warnings to his disciples, there are some spiritual enemies that can only come out through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29).
Praying for the lost and the world is no small thing. It is the most important thing, and our most power tool to exercise the power of the Holy Spirit and demolish the enemy. But no solider goes into war without preparing. I am learning to arm myself before engaging in serious intercessory prayer by putting on the whole armor of God: I pray it and speak it out loud as I dress myself before engaging the enemy in battle. I prepare with Ephesians 6:14-17:
May I stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around my waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, I take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. I take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I encourage you to arm yourself in this way and stand firm, because we should “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (v 18).”
So pray for the lost and the missionaries on the front lines among them. Lift them up!
2. I’m reading through the Bible: 21 books completed so far (11 from the Old Testament and 10 from the New). This is one of the highlights of my day.
3. One of the first scriptures I studied and continue to revisit during this season is Isaiah 58 which talks about “True Fasting.” The prophet goes to great lengths to outline the blessings that come if we fast the right way. You may ask, “What is the right way to fast?” Well, the prophet answers that question directly:
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to cloth him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood (6-7)?
It seems to me that the prophet had much more in mind for fasting than us skipping meals. Our love connection with God directly changes the way we respond to other people, particularly those who are less fortunate than us. I am definitely taking up this mantle.
I give sacrificially with the understanding that once I give something away, I no longer possess that resource. It becomes a gift and sacrifice to someone else. Is God working on me to give more sacrificially? I mean really give to the point where it does hurt (where I may go without a physical need) so that someone else can have? Should we expect this from God? Or are we asking too much of ourselves?
4. My time in another context within the past few weeks has been Barnes & Noble. You may think I am crazy but I am not. I have seen God reveal himself in dramatic ways through four encounters I have had or witnessed in Barnes & Noble over the past couple months. That store may become my new mission field. I normally pray, go there in peace, and with no agenda. I take time to stop, relax, watch, and listen, and before I know it, God has preached a sermon to me and may even give me an opportunity to share his light with others.
5. I am taking a sabbatical from our Women’s Mentoring Ministry where we intentionally make disciples so that those disciples can disciple others. At the same time, God is sharing some “greater works than these shall you do (John 14:12)” and the revelation that he is able to do immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within me (Eph 3:20). I don’t know what all that means at the moment, but all I can say is “something is brewing.”
So how is this Radical process coming along for you? Are you picking up the mantle, dropping the ball completely, narrowing your focus? Let us know so we can encourage you and cheer you on. I’m still on a blog sabbatical so until March 27, keep living RADICALLY for Jesus!
© Natasha S. Robinson 2012