This is such a radical verse. I think I have always passed over it quickly knowing that no overt, intentional, and blatant sin exists in my life (probably blatant sin is in my prideful thought!). How do I deal radically with a burst of anger, not forgiving that undeserving person, and that area of pride? As I pondered this, I realized radical action hinges on two things: 1) Do you love righteousness as much as God does? Psalm 11:7a “For the LORD is righteous; He loves righteousness.” (NASB) 2) How serious are you about righteousness and sin? Psalm 11:7b “The upright will behold His face.” Does your desire to behold and experience God eclipse everything in your life? Look at these five examples of total abandonment at any cost: 1) In Luke 19:8 you see Zacchaeus’ abandonment when he repented and came to God, “But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’” 2) In Matthew 4:21-22 you see how James and John were willing to give up everything to follow Jesus, “Jesus saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.” 3) In Philippians 1:21 you see Paul’s absolute abandonment to follow Christ when he says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” In Mark 12:44 you see how the poor widow handled money through faith and not control, “They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.” 5) In John 17:27-28 you see how Jesus knew dying a horrible death was His purpose, “No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name!" And in Matthew 26:39 “Jesus fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.’” All these people were willing to do whatever was necessary to be in God’s will, knowing that at the heart of God’s will is the opportunity to experience not only righteousness, but also the very face of God!
Acts 6:15, 7:54-57 “All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. . . .When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.” (NIV)
Resources on lordship from Growing in Christ Bible studies: “Transformation 1” and “Your Life in Christ.”