You and I can choose to continue with business as usual in the Christian life and in the church as a whole, enjoying success based on the standards defined by the culture around us. Or we can take an honest look at the Jesus of the Bible and dare to ask what the consequences might be if we really believed him and really obeyed him.
If Jesus is who he said he is, and if his promises are as rewarding as the Bible claims they are, then we may discover that satisfaction in our lives and success in the church are not found in what our culture deems most important, but in radical abandonment to Jesus.
Radical, by David Platt
There is a longing inside us — if we are honest — to discover that life is about more than it seems. Platt asks us to look at our lives, are we really living out the gospel? Are we really doing as Jesus called us to do, or are we fitting Jesus into our “American dream?” Platt allows us to look at the lives of people who take Jesus at His word, who are sold out in a radical way to follow Christ. This book reminds me that the “stuff” we place importance on isn’t important at all. It’s about living authentic lives for Christ. It takes courage to live this way, but you can only win. It is Jesus way, there is nothing but gain. We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around us when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves and living for Him, for others.
Abandoning ourselves is easier said than done. It costs to follow Christ the way he demands to be followed. Indeed, if you read the Bible carefully, he often tried to talk people out of following him! But the rewards for those who do…”We will discover that our meaning is found in community and our life is found in giving ourselves for the sake of others in the church, among the lost and among the poor.”
David sums up his book with a radical one year experiment. He introduces it by saying this:
Real success is found in radical sacrifice. Ultimate satisfaction is found not in making much of ourselves but in making much of God. The purpose of our lives transcends the country and culture in which we live. Meaning is found in community, not individualism; joy is found in generosity, not materialism; and truth is found in Christ, not universalism. Ultimately, Jesus is a reward worth risking everything to know, experience, and enjoy.
I know it is kind of skipping ahead, but do you want to hear the one year challenge?
- Pray for the entire world. Get an aid such as OperationWorld and literally begin praying for everywhere around the world in this one year. You’ll be amazed, he says, at the way prayer opens our hearts and minds. Jesus asked his disciples to pray not for the poor and the sick, but for the people who would go to them. He wants us to pray for people to go to the countries you will learn about. Great family project.
- Read through the entire Bible in one year. “We have settled for far too long for “Bible lite,” both as individual Christians and in the community of faith. We have adopted a Christianity consumed with little devotional thoughts form God for the day…” Imagine the power of praying around the world and reading the Word for an entire year! Do you think you would be transformed at the end of that year?
- Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose. Pick a concrete project and devote every dollar you can to it for one year. Set a cap on your lifestyle for this one year and get involved with changing your world personally through your giving.
- Spend your time in another context. This is the one we’re all afraid of, isn’t it. Go. We have to change our context and go. He suggests that if we could just give 2% of our time (roughly one week) to changing our context and bringing the Gospel to the world, it would revolutionize the other 98% of our time.
- Commit your life to multiplying community. Find a place within your body of believers to make disciples and support each other. “If the radical, simple living we see Jesus talking about were more common in the church, it would be much easier for us to live simply as well…give liberally, go urgently and live dangerously together.”
You can download the first chapter here:
This book was provided for review by Walter Multnomah blogging for books program.