Sunday, January 14, 2007

Lord Foulgrin on "Radical Obedience"

As I continue to reread Lord Foulgrin's Letters by Randy Alcorn (previous post here and website here), I keep coming across excellent observations about how we, especially in America, are confounded regarding living a full Christian life. Here are a few more examples. Remember this text is from a letter to a demon underling on how to disrupt a Christian's life, in this case a man named "Fletcher."

From Chapter 21:

Focus Fletcher on yesterday or tomorrow. Let him celebrate past obedience and anticipate future obedience, as long as he doesn't obey in the present. Distract Fletcher from what the Carpenter has for him today. If nostalgia or regrets concerning the past consume him, fine. If his plans for world travel or changing jobs or building on to his house consume him, fine. The Enemy wants his service today. Everything which distracts from today's obedience serves us. (Emphasis added)

If he must be a Christian, make him a moderate one, the kind who makes sure he "doesn't go overboard" or "get radical" or "go to extremes." (emphasis added) Let his Christianity be one more category of his life, alongside business, sports, and hobbies. If that's all it is, it'll do us little harm and the Enemy little good.

In the last post from this book, I ended the quote with the thought that "an unholy world will never be won to the Carpenter by an unholy church." and the observation that the only way for the church to be holy is for the individuals within that church to be holy. Today's quotes show two distinct ways we avoid the holiness God desires for us.

The first is obedience; and not just any obedience, but obedience today, now. Each and every moment of every day should be considered in light of obeying God's commands in Christ. Today's Sunday School lesson dealt with the same issue: We show we love God most when we "hunger for righteousness." So... am I obeying now? Where have I disobeyed today? That disobedience, either active (through a conscious act of disobedience) or inactive (through inaction when one should have obeyed), is sin. As Christians we need to confess that sin before the Throne of Grace in prayer, appropriating the cleansing Blood of Christ to cover it and separate it from us as far as the east is from the west. And then...obey!

The second is the fear of being "radical" or "extreme." If we actually were to obey God, our lives would look far different than the world around us. Even those within the church would drag out the labels "radical" and "extreme" in an attempt to bring us back in line with the prevailing evangelical culture. (I've been called those names by people who have read what I have written in my blogs, and I must admit it's encouraging to read respected authors who think similarly to what I've written!) Unfortunately, those labels work very well to squelch the fire of many a well-meaning Christian who desires to go hard after Christ. Alcorn is making the point that we don't make Christianity our life but rather just one more category to go alongside all the other things we do. Especially when we have children, we "fit it in" alongside all the sports and activities instead of letting it regulate what we do and how we look at all those sports and activities. What would our lives look like if we actually lived as Christians and not as people of the world who also wear the cloak of Christianity?

Even more importantly, how would we impact our world of we actually lived as Christians instead of as "...a baptized version of the world with mere cosmetic differences?"

Can we start focusing on the present when it comes to obedience?
Can we actually be radical and extreme and not worry about the labels?
Can we actually show Christ to the world through our very lives?

My prayer is the answer would be "YES!"

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