“Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream”….
That’s the subtitle for David Platt’s book, Radical, which according to its rusty orange cover is already a New York Times bestseller – a fact I’m sure the author could care less about, since he didn’t pen his thoughts for notoriety’s sake.
After reading the first two chapters, I have been challenged by Platt – in a good way.
There are so many things I could, and maybe should, expound upon after reading the first 40 pages or so, but alas there is not enough time. I will say, however, that I am thankful for voices in Christendom like David Platt and Francis Chan, author of the run-away hit Crazy Love, as well as the lesser-known Forgotten God (which I also highly recommend). They think outside of the box, calling us to know the authentic Jesus, the One that doesn’t necessarily fit into our idea of how our Savior should function and think.
A quote from Chapter 1 that resonated with me is from pages 12-13:
“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 in this world look like hate. And it is entirely possibly that he WILL tell (not ask) us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor. But we don’t want to believe it.”
Platt goes on on page 18 to say:
“Do we really believe he is worth abandoning everything for? Do you and I really believe that Jesus is so good, so satisfying, and so rewarding that we will leave all we have and all we own and all we are in order to find our fullness in him? Do you and I believe him enough to obey him and to follow him wherever he leads, even when the crowds in our culture – and maybe in our churches – turn the other way.
I want to believe Him enough to obey and follow wherever he leads me. I truly do. I want to be “Radical”, in the sense that God would like me to be and on one else.
After all, what does being “radical” really mean?
I think the answer to that question is going to look different for everyone; there is not a “one size fits all” answer. I don’t think Platt’s trying to apply that there is one, but I think his style could lead some to that notion.
What do I think? Just as the method everyone works out their salvation looks different, so does the socio-economic background in which they work out that salvation looks different. I don’t think it’s fair to judge one’s commitment to Christ – and whether or not they’re radically living out their faith – by looking their material possessions. Jesus said you will know them by their fruits – not their account balances.
Take my life, for example. Are my husband and I less “radical” because we’ve responsibly saved our money, instead of wracking up a bunch of unnecessary debt and looking to the government to be our Savior, so that we’re in a position to buy our first home, for the same – or less – money than we’re paying now to rent? Are we less “radical” because we own two cars, but again have responsibly purchased these vehicles? Are we less “radical” because my husband plans for his retirement and we both own life insurance policies? Are we?
I’ll admit, I struggle with being financially blessed. I know that sounds weird, but it’s the God-honest truth. I have more than I could ever dream and often feel guilty for not suffering more financial hardship, especially as I’ve seen the recession hit those whom I love so hard, especially my parents. Voices like Platt can make me feel even worse, which can lead to legalism that may lead to frugality but not wholehearted service to my King.
As John and I say, here’s the 2 ultimate questions one needs to ask themselves:
“Does my stuff have me, or am I being a good steward of the stuff in which God has entrusted me?”
“Am I really willing to forsake ALL – health, possessions and whatever else, for the cause of the Gospel?”
For more thoughts on Chapter 1 of Radical, visit my friend Marla’s blog.