Thursday, October 11, 2012

Getting Radical

As the Lord continued to draw me near to Him, teach me the reality of my sin and the truth of His grace, affection for Jesus truly developed in a way that I had never known it before.  It was about that time that our pastor asked the church to go through David Platt’s book, Radical, together.  And from the moment I read the first words of the first chapter, the Lord grabbed my heart and said, “Listen to this!”  If you’re not familiar with this book, here’s the summary from Amazon:

What is Jesus worth to you?

It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily...

But who do you know who lives like that? Do you?

In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.

Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment--a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.

For the most part, he just quoted Scripture, but I read it with new eyes and a new heart.  My view of the world and my responsibility toward it began to change.  Here are some points which have deeply affected me:
  1. The version of Christianity I was comfortable with looked a whole lot more like the American Dream than the version of Christianity Jesus preached.
  2. I am rich.  I don’t mean spiritually (although I am), I mean financially.  Statistically, I live in the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the world.
  3. People who die without knowing Jesus will go to Hell.
  4. If Jesus said things like, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor,” multiple times to multiple people, I have to think He meant it, and maybe it didn’t apply only to the people to whom He said it.  Maybe it could apply to me in some way.

But let’s face it, I could just take all of this and make a new form of legalism.  I could make a new checklist and get going trying to reconcile myself to God.  But I’m so thankful that when I read this, I was also listening to Matt Chandler remind me that Jesus wants my heart and not my good behavior / begrudging submission.  That’s about the time I realized that if Scripture says “XYZ,” and I’m looking for ways to get out of it, then there’s a problem with my heart. 

And so these truths are steadily sinking into my heart.  The more I read the Bible, and the more I ask the Lord to transform me, the better I begin to see what this could possibly look like for me, and for our family.  Last year, the only really big difference it made was that Rob & I volunteered at an income-restricted apartment complex in our area.  We got to hang out with kids and build relationships with them, and sometimes their parents.  That opportunity ended earlier this year for us, but I look back and think what a small step of faith it was to step out and volunteer, but how much it took me out of my comfort zone.  Even still, it also kind of felt like home.  It’s hard to describe how something so foreign can at the same time feel so familiar, but I think that’s often how God’s plans work.

So what about you?  Are you following Jesus, or the American Dream with Jesus dust sprinkled on top?  What Scriptures have challenged you to ask the Lord to examine your heart?  And how has following the Lord fleshed itself out in your life?


  1. I am SO FAR from truly following Jesus. I deeply desire to follow his commands, but my life looks like the American Dream. Right now we have a family staying with us that needed shelter, but we knew them. Jesus said to take in strangers. Strangers! Even though I have given away bunches of our things since becoming convicted about our lifestyle, we have waaaaay to much stuff. I have specifically wanted to follow the commands spoken by Jesus as recorded in Scripture. The past month in Bible Study we studied the Sermon on the Mount. I could spend the rest of my life working on those three chapters of Matthew. I have so far to go and regret that it took me this long to try to start truly living my faith. The more I give, the more He reveals how much more I have to give if that makes any sense. I have so far to go... so far...

    1. Seriously, thank you for sharing. Sanctification is such a hard process, but oh so worth it.

  2. I was continuing to think about this last night when I went to bed. Although I still know I have so far to go, maybe in this life there will always be "one more thing lacking". The more we become like Him, the more we realize how far we are from being like Him.

    1. Yes, I think you're right. We will never, ever be able to be perfect, and it is HE who sanctifies us, and so I think the Christian life is characterized by living with the tension of knowing there are areas in our hearts that need to change, asking Him to help us repent, but then waiting for Him to work.

      Good stuff!