Are you a zealot?

Radical. I’ve used this word before describing what it is what God is wanting us to do – living radically for him. What does radical mean in context to both us as a person and our actions?
Radical as an adjective – so describing something – is going to the root or origin, thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms, favoring drastic political economic or social reforms, forming a basis or foundation existing inherently in a thing or person.
As a noun it is a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles, advocates fundamental political, economic and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods.
This is from the modern dictionary – these are the current implications as to what people think when they hear radical.
When I look at those, I see a big difference from what people thought when Jesus was alive. I know 2000 years ago, times have changed. Uhh…you sure? Solomon says there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
So…people’s thoughts about being a radical or living radically hasn’t really changed too much. When Jesus chose his disciples (I’m sure we’ve all heard this but I’m gonna say it again) he has two extremes within his camp. Matthew – tax collector (Matthew 9:9-10). Modern day liberal Christian, supporter of liberal policies. Simon – the zealot (Luke 6:15). Modern day conservative Christian, supporter of conservative policies.
I feel like these are poor descriptions so let me elaborate. The tax collector now would be the one who ‘believes in God, He just doesn’t care about what happens now. The Bible is an old document and doesn’t say anything about things going on in this day and age.’ This dude worked for the oppressive liberal politicians over him and his people…let that sink in.
Then you’ve got the zealot. That was what he was called. This dude was SO serious that he was called the zealot. He didn’t like the oppressive people, he didn’t like the people who worked for them, he didn’t like the mention of their names. He may have been violent (some were very violent) he may not have been – but he was passionate! So he is the extremist to the right – like won’t even support the left’s agendas with his time or money in any way, shape, or form.
So you have these two opposite ends of the spectrum living, walking, studying, learning, eating, sleeping, doing everything together with Jesus as their leader. They didn’t like one another but what I want to focus in on is that people then thought of radical zealots the same way they do NOW!
It won’t take too long when you hang out with the opposite end before you realize…you don’t have much in common and you can’t be around them and they can’t be around you. They may even call you crazy, a zealot, conservative, old-fashioned – whatever. The name may have changed, but the thought pattern is still the same.
I was talking with my friend the other day and I had a rough day – I couldn’t focus – and I realized that it was because I hadn’t been able to saturate myself as I had become accustomed to. And I said “this may make me sound crazy but I don’t care. I miss the presence that was so saturated with Him” and she did call me crazy. She said well at least you’re crazy in a good way.
But when you walk in radical love both for God and from God, people are going to think you’re crazy. Some will say that you’re good crazy and others are going to mean it in a demeaning way.
So how do we walk in radical love? Just look at Jesus’ two disciples here. He loved them both – liberal and zealot. I’m not saying that he condoned their behavior or those they supported. I am saying that he loved them. After they spent time with Him then they made better their ways.
Matthew stopped being a tax collector and went around ministering and later wrote the gospel. Simon calmed down and channeled his passion against the oppressive people into sharing God’s love. When Jesus loved them, He changed them. Took their presented qualities and changed them into presentable qualities to the Father.
He loved prostitutes (Matthew 21:28-32)
And this includes even those who sleep around for free (John 4:1-19)
So He loves them, no matter what they have done, what they are doing, or anything else. God loves them! And if we are to be like Jesus, we need to love just like that. See through heaven’s eyes regarding those you come into contact with. God sees them as they will be, the change that will take place, so must we as well. Believe me, I know it’s hard but with God’s help it is possible!
When we love them no matter what, they will come. They will be influenced and battles in the spiritual realm will be won. And all we have done at that point is love them, as God loves us, as God loves them.
When they come, we cannot be Pharisees. We can’t. When they come, they’ll be messed up (we already talked about this) but also they will bring others with them! Look back at Matthew 9:9-10. It says that his friends came over as well.
I imagine (in modern vernacular) that Matthew sent out a text “Yo, I got Jesus coming over tonight. He’s cool. There’ll be food. Come over.” And all his friends are like “Food! Oh Jesus…yeah I’ve heard of him. Sure I’ll be there” So all these people who are JUST LIKE MATTHEW (minus the encounter with Jesus) show up and Jesus was totally cool! So this is the SON OF GOD and he is chilling with a bunch of messed up tax collectors, and he is at home there because He loves them.
He isn’t pointing fingers and calling them out on their stuff right in front of everyone, He isn’t sticking his nose up in the air (saying I cannot be associated with you), and He isn’t uncomfortable around them. Earlier this week I was having dinner with a different friend and she said that one of the nights she was getting ready to go on stage in her dressing room and one person was talking trash about everyone. She told them to get out because 1)she didn’t want to hear and 2)that gossiped knowledge would affect her performance. This knowledge would have made her uncomfortable.
We as humans unless we’ve trained our minds to think like Jesus and not hold their deeds against them; we will automatically go into judgment mode, and it makes us uncomfortable. “I know what you’ve done and I can’t handle that information.” It is our default setting due to the fall and without God – the manufacturer – there really is no changing it. My friend didn’t judge them and she did a marvelous job that evening on stage. But when we do that and they are trying to grow in God, all that says is “I’m imitating God and God can’t handle that.”
But Jesus, sweet Jesus, is right at home with them. He walked in radical love, loving those that the world had deemed worthless, they who are so consumed by their sin they don’t know which way is right, and those hardened against Him.
I know it isn’t easy to actually do this. We can say it all day long, have all the right theories, and the 5 step program. But when we actually encounter those in desperate need of radical love…then we get a little rocky.
You may be thinking, this has not a lot to do with spiritual warfare. Well let me tell you, yes sir-ey bob it does. The many people Jesus drove demons out of, he had compassion on them, He loved them and because of that He drove them out.
One was a girl and a woman, those are easy to love and have compassion on. One dude was NAKED! He was so messed up, all the demons in him went into an entire herd of pigs. This herd was a major part of the town’s livelihood. So it wasn’t like 5, one version says it was 2,000! Even if that isn’t 100% accurate, my version still says large. You can’t tell me that would be easy, for you.
But it was easy peasey for Jesus because He always walked in radical love and in the Spirit and under the authority of God. Let’s just do those three things and then we’re golden 😉

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