We started looking at how you can tell if someone is a revolutionary? As Jesus taught, you look for the fruit. But what are the relevant behaviours that support the verbal intimations? Again the Bible is the best source of such measures. I believe that not only was Paul the apostle a stellar revolutionary, but his letters to the churches he mentored provide tremendous insight into the distinguishing attributes of genuine revolutionaries.
The apostle to the gentiles, in his letter to the Romans, offers guidance in seven areas of life: spiritual practices, personal faith, perspective on life, attitude, character, relationships, and behaviour. We looked at the first two last time …
1> Spiritual practices
2> Personal faith
3> Perspective on life
Paul encouraged the early believers to be firm and focused. Focused on what? Producing fruit! As he wrote to the Roman disciples, “I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit” (Romans 1:13)
More particularly, revolutionaries are urged to place their faith in God above all else, to be considerate of the needs of others and bless them whenever possible, and to be realistic in self-assessment. The bottom line in all of this: never lose confidence in your ability to make a lasting and positive difference in the world.
Bearing fruit is not easy. Paul does his best to describe the toughness of mind that a disciple and revolutionary will need to make a difference. He challenges the believers to turn a deaf ear to illegitimate criticism. He warns them that they will face hardships: trouble, calamity, persecution, hunger, poverty, and even death threats. And he cautions that God Himself may punish those He loves because of their offences.
Revolutionaries are, indeed, a different breed of people. They accept the fact that life on earth is all about life after earth, and they live accordingly.
The attitude of a true revolutionary is assured, appropriately righteous, and upbeat.
And why not? Who would not feel secure knowing that they are connected to the omnipotent and omniscient God of the universe? That’s why Paul tells revolutionaries they ought to be confident and fearless.
And who wouldn’t be righteous, realizing that their sole purpose is to obey God, based on the clear directives He has provided? When Paul admonishes the world-changers to hate evil, love goodness, and be patient, respectful, and forgiving (Romans 12:9-21), that mind-set makes sense in the context of serving the Lord of truth.
And who wouldn’t be upbeat about their existence, given the promises of the God they serve? Encouraging the body of revolutionaries to remain happy and joyful is not much of a stretch if you can stay focused on the big picture.
More next time…