Dear Christian: Don’t Be Radical, Be Reasonable

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

We don’t necessarily need to be more radical.

Just more reasonable.

Christ doesn’t put the weight of the lost world on our shoulders. He’s not primarily in the business of burden giving, but burden relieving.

To hear many Sunday morning messages though, the biblical script is flipped on us. Exhortations of law are dispensed from pulpits like lightning bolts from a brooding cloud. Sometimes it’s principles with a winking smile, sometimes it’s legalism with spitting scorn. It’s usually all focused on law, though.

Go do! Go be! Go set yourself on fire and the world will come watch you burn!

So we’re “encouraged” to be like the heroes of our faith. You’d think by now with all the talk of radical missional living we’d have the evangelistic zeal of Billy Graham, the theological courage of Martin Luther, and the tender social consciousness of Mother Theresa. A super apostle for the ages.

And of course we’re “encouraged” to be more like Christ. But even that seemingly innocent nudge can be construed as another impossibly obtuse plate for us to juggle.

But let’s turn the script right side up: 

The gospel isn’t about the great exploits we do for God, but about the great exploits God has done for us in the person and work of Christ. If we want to do something truly radical, let’s point to the only one who has lived a completely holy radical life on our behalf: Jesus Christ. We may be called to carry out great exploits, but it won’t happen to God’s glory if we haven’t drank deeply of the overflowing grace found in the gospel.

Maybe a good rule: If it doesn’t make us breathe a sigh of relief, it’s not the gospel. It may be the law and there may be a place for that law in our message. But that place can’t be center stage, and those commands can’t be the main course for starving sinners like us.

Here’s the message Christ has for weary, burnt out, former sold out radicals:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Now that’s good news. Great news.

We’re not the givers here. He is. Always. We simply receive all the eternal benefits the Son graciously gives.

And in light of that burden-breaking freedom-giving revelation:

Go do what’s reasonable (Romans 12:1).

He’s prepared a feast for us purchased with His own body and blood.

Joyfully eat of it.

And go into the world happy, full, and bearing great news.

Bryan Daniels


Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

8 thoughts on “Dear Christian: Don’t Be Radical, Be Reasonable”

  1. Ironically, the more drenched in gospel love we become, the more radical we will automatically be, without lifting a finger. If we relax enough into grace, we’ll work ourselves to death in pursuit of gospel truth. Grace is such a beautifully dangerous thing, isn’t it?

  2. I want to be so “on fire” that everyone who comes near me needs a flame-retardant suit! And has to carry a fire extinguisher. I agree. Reasonable Christians are more adept at sharing the gospel successfully than radical Christians. Some people just don’t seem to know the difference. Glad you do. Sandy

  3. Good word. I preached at a retreat recently where I began about being “on fire for God,” and then talked about reasons why it was so hard to do that. Because it’s not easy, at all. I think I heard sighs of relief, and then we set to untangle those obstacles. It’s out of Christ’s rest that we gain resolve.

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