The Bare Soul - May 18, 2008
Radical Obedience

Mark 9:7 - Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, " This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!

Barefoot running is the most radical thing I have ever done in my life on a consistent basis. What started as a "fun" thing to do has turned into something much more. It has become a point of obedience from the Lord. To be honest, I might not be doing what I am doing with BF running if it weren't that the Lord taking over this ministry. I have been pretty content the past couple of years to just run and not make a big deal out of it. However, He keeps wanting to throw me into situations where I have the opportunity to be obedient to Him. Recently, I ran in an event with several thousand people in attendance. As the race wove through neighborhoods, there I was busily handing out flyers and information on the Free Wheelchair Mission. People were surprised and shocked when I would run into their front yards and hand them a piece of literature. To be truthful, I felt somewhat embarrassed both during and after the race for doing so, but I knew that it was a point of obedience for me.

The word "radical" has its origins from the Middle Ages. Derived from the word rādīcālis it literally means "having roots". The implication of "radical obedience" means a type of obedience that is rooted in the very fundamentals of obedience to God's holy commands. For truly as the root IS, so IS the tree. (No where is this stated clearer than John the Baptist's admonition regarding the axe being laid to the root [Matthew 3:10]). In the same way that a tree "having roots" is descriptive of radical obedience, adversely the roots can be just as radical toward toward selfishness and disobedience resulting in the displeasure and judgment of the Father.

Radical obedience does not come without both a price and a reward. The price is most people not understanding what you are up to and judging you accordingly. The reward is a transfiguration only the Lord can cause. This is sanctification, pure and simple. In the Old Testament, prophets were often told to do seemingly absurd things such as walk barefoot and naked (Isaiah 20), wear an oxen yoke around their necks (Jeremiah 27), or marry a harlot knowing that she would be unfaithful (Hosea 1) just to name a few. God is noticeably silent regarding the prophets and their obedience. There is a stark lack of commentary from the Lord regarding their following the Lord's commands. No where in the Old Testament have I found where God says to the prophets "Good job for being obedient and looking like a fool so I could get my point across". Radical obedience seldom has God's demonstrative commentary attached. However, we do find certain other notables in the Old Testament that don't lack God's testimony of favor. These are men that walked with God and gained His favor through obedience that spanned their lifetimes, not necessarily just through a time of prophetic calling. Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6). Moses was the friend of God  and the most humble man on earth (Numbers 12:3). David was a man after God's own heart (I Samuel 16:7). These were men who knew the Lord through faith and righteousness through years of walking with Him in radical obedience.

To the degree that we know the Lord through faith and righteousness, will be the degree that we are walking in obedience to His word. Just because we are working out our salvation through obeying His promptings and through His written word, this does not necessarily mean that we are always going to be receiving an "Atta boy or girl" from the Lord. The instances of the audible voice of God commending His Son in the New Testament scriptures are very few. Probably, the greatest commentary to radical obedience was given on the Mount of Transfiguration when God the Father said "This is my beloved Son, listen to Him!" Not only do we hear the Father stating that Jesus was the perfect embodiment of Himself by his proclamation of His love for Him (for He saw no sin in His Son, but a life being lived in purity), but we hear the commandment of the Father to LISTEN TO HIM! This is the Divine Testimony that the Father concurred that Jesus His Son was LIVING a radically obedient life and that ALL should heed what He says. In the Father's summation, it could not be any better or purer!

While we may never hear the audible voice of God, we will surely experience His peace and His still, small voice as we turn toward Him in all instances of our respective lives. Those of us who have served the Lord for a while know how easy it is to grieve His Spirit away and feel absent of His presence. However, when we begin to turn back to the Lord with an attitude of extravagant or radical obedience, then we begin to sense the Lord rejoicing in us and over us.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Thank you for your wonderful example of obedience. May we learn the secret of abiding in your love and life that we would truly be pleasing to the Father in all things. In Christ's name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Barefoot Rick

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