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?