Wake Up

I am reading “Radical” by David Platt. The subtitle is Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream. Wow, it’s a good book. It is really challenging me and making me take a look at how I am living my life, and where I have not been doing such a good job.

I’ll admit that I was afraid to read this book at first. Afraid of how it would convict me and what it would then require of me to do or to give up. I am certainly feeling stretched already, but am glad for the conviction.

This is an excerpt from close to the beginning, and it really spoke to me.

I’m calling it “Wake Up“:

…We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love him in a way that makes our closest relationships look like hate. And it is entirely possible that he will tell us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor.

But we don’t want to believe it. We are afraid of what it might mean for our lives. So we rationalize these passages away. ‘Jesus wouldn’t really tell us not to bury our father or say good-bye to our family. Jesus didn’t literally mean to sell all we have and give it to the poor. What Jesus really meant was…’

And this is where we need to pause. Because we are stating to redefine Christianity. We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with. A nice, middle-class, American Jesus… A Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live out our Christian spin on the American dream…”

…Wake up and realize that there are infinitely more important things in your life than football and a 401(k). Wake up and realize there are real battles to be fought, so different from the superficial, meaningless ‘battles’ [we] focus on. Wake up to the countless multitudes who are currently destined for a Christless eternity. The price of our nondiscipleship is high for those without Christ. It is high also for the poor of the world…

Half of the world struggles to get by on less than $2 per day while we sit in our comfortable homes with our endless supply of food and clothing. 26,000 children under the age of 5 die every day due to diseases that can be prevented. Millions of people are facing another day of not knowing Christ and risking unimaginable suffering for eternity. The price of not obeying what Christ has told us to do all along is quite high.

We CAN do something about these realities.

The problem is, I AM comfortable with my material possessions. I don’t WANT to give up everything and to risk it all.

But, if we really do claim to be followers of Christ, as Platt says, we must commit to believe whatever Jesus says and then we need to commit to obey what we’ve been told. We can’t cherry pick our favorites and ignore the hard parts. We can’t claim to follow Him if we refuse to believe ALL of what He said. “The gospel does not prompt you to mere reflection; the gospel requires a response.

So this is what I’m working on – figuring out what my response is supposed to be. We have a couple small things in the works and I look forward to sharing those with you as they develop.

But for now, how does all of this strike you? Do you think we need to take back our faith from the American dream?


7 thoughts on “Wake Up

  1. Ouch, stop stepping on toes! Gonna have to think on this one. If you get a chance, please come and check out my site at chanceman4. My name is Chris Chance and there is a link on my blog to listen to my CD, “Following You” featuring “You” and “His Prints Are in the Sand” (based on the Footprints poem). Also you can go to http://www.noisetrade.com/chrischance. You can download any or all of my songs for the price of your choosing…pretty good deal…you can even get them for free, as long as you put in an email address and zip code. We are trying to get this project up and moving, so anything you can do and any way you could pass it on would be greatly appreciated.Hope you enjoy and are blessed by it!!!!
    Thanks and God Bless!

  2. I don’t know where this book goes from here, but I think these are SUCH complex questions. I know people who are doing incredible work with the ultra-wealthy, helping them think through how to give away their wealth responsibly and I know people who give it all up to move into the poverty-stricken areas to share Jesus. I also know people who work hard to make money to provide for their families and are convinced that this is where God wants them. All of these people can slide into sin, can lean toward false humility for their “good works”, can lean toward legalism when looking at their fellow rich Americans, can lean toward self-reliance if their provision for their families takes the place of God’s provision for their hearts.

    I think that the best we can do is to look at what Jesus taught and listen to the Spirit as it convicts us. This is best done in prayer, Bible study and community (who knows me and my unique struggles). If this book is helping you do that, then that’s awesome!

    • You ask some great questions Margaret! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, it is a very complex issue and thought process. I do highly recommend the book if it piques your interest. It’s helping me do a lot of thinking. I’m not done yet (only about half-way), but the basic premise is to abandon the typical American dream of ladder-climbing success and to live radically for God, in whatever aspect that may be.

  3. Thanks so much for your message, Karen! I have also enjoyed reading your blog and learning about all of the mission work that you have done and the opportunities out there for us all to serve. So very inspirational! It reminds us of how there is so much more to life than just ourselves and really puts the focus on God and helping others. I admire your strong faith!

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