Moderately Radical

It’s funny to me how we tend to see everything in others almost entirely in relation to ourselves.

I was teasingly called a liberal on a particular occasion, but, given the circumstance in which it took place, I gladly owned that label. It was because I know that my perspectives would legitimately be seen as liberal in that context. However, anywhere else in the world, I would be seen only as the tiniest bit less conservative than those around me.

I have been spending some time meditating and reflecting upon Paul’s powerful testimony to the folks at Philippi. He stated so very strongly that he counted everything else in his life as garbage in comparison to the one highest, greatest, over-arching purpose in his life – to know Jesus (Philippians 3).

That’s pretty radical to most of us.

As some friends and I are spending some focused time in prayer for direction in some important matters, I find myself torn with an argument I have had numerous times in my life. It is the matter of where our common sense plays into the process of seeking God. I have had a number of people (for whom I have utmost respect) tell me that God gave us common sense for a reason and so we seek God but listen to common sense. I get that.

But that doesn’t seem to jive with what I see from Paul. Nor does it align with Proverbs 3 and the admonition:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding…”

Proverbs 3.5

If we know God at all, we know that His workings are vastly beyond our human understanding. It seems to me that most of the powerful demonstrations of God’s power found in the Scriptures came when people were willing to do what God asked them to do when it made no common sense at all.

This isn’t a new idea. It’s not only all over the Scriptures, but it’s even in our great hymns of faith. I was reflecting on one of them this morning and these words struck me:

Have Thine own way, Lord
Have Thine own way
Hold o’er my being absolute sway

Adelaide A. Pollard, Have Thine Own Way

Absolute sway?

That seems to mean that we ought to give God absolute freedom to direct our steps. Where does our common sense fit in that? Seems to me it doesn’t.

So, to genuinely pray or sing, “Have Thine own way, Lord,” is radically different from our tendency to ask God what He thinks about our idea. It’s pretty radical to genuinely and completely surrender every part of our lives to God and trust His Spirit to direct us.

But, if giving God “absolute sway” over our lives is radical, then can we ever really put any weight on our common sense? Seems radical. Well…moderately radical.

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