"Christ followers in American churches have embraced values and ideas that are not only unbiblical but that actually contradict the gospel we claim to believe" (David Platt, Radical).
What is your take on that statement? For me, while being a tough pill to swallow, it was also so easy to believe and understand. I will carry with me always my experiences in Romania. One of the biggest privileges I had while serving there was learning about true faith...the faith of a people in a third world country. They have nothing but live as if they have everything. My dear friends there live day in and day out the truth that Jesus is all we need. Yet in America, we say, "Jesus is all we need!...to get into heaven, but while here on earth I will take a car, a home, nice restaurants, expensive clothing and jewelry...oh and that leather couch because the one I have is 2 years old."
Unfortunately in America, we as Christians live our lives in complete contradiction to the gospel. We are out for number one. We tithe, if we know we will have enough to fulfill our wants. We will serve others, if and when our football team doesn't have a game. We will love, if others love us. "Somewhere along the way (in our Christian walk) we have missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable. We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves" (Platt).
I am definitely not out to point my finger. I rarely sit down and consider the cost of following my Savior. I have felt so convicted over these last months about how I live my life and the ripple my actions can have on how my peers see Christ. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in The Cost of Discipleship that the first call every Christian experiences is "the call to abandon the attachments of this world. When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die." This world that we live in is dying without Christ. Dying. And without Jesus, this world will suffer for eternity. Instead of being mindful of that, and lovingly sharing the gospel to others, we go shopping instead. "While Christians choose to spend their lives fulfilling the American dream instead of giving their lives to proclaiming the kingdom of God, literally billions in need of the gospel remain in the dark" (Platt).
It may seem like I'm saying shopping/cars/homes/football is wrong. Let me ask you this: if God asked you today to give your car away and to sell your home and give the entire amount earned to the church, would any of us say, "Yes, Lord."?? Just yesterday as I was watching the Tennessee Titans game, I knew I needed to read my Bible. Spending time in the Word daily is so important for us as believers. Instead, I said, "God, when the game is over." Which turned into after Lifegroup, once I was too tired to focus on His Word. Jesus wants us to commit to believe what He says. Shame on me for ever saying, "Lord, I will get to it when it is most convenient for me." We need to commit to saying "Yes, Lord" to the words of Jesus before we even hear them. And we need to commit to obey Him once we have heard Him.
I highly recommend going out and buying a copy of Radical for yourselves. While David Platt is only stating what Jesus has already told us to do, I believe we may have become immune to Jesus' words. Maybe we have heard them so often that we fail to read His Word with fresh eyes and let them soak into our lives. Platt does an incredible job talking straight to the heart of America, and demanding that the Christians who live here wake up! "We need to return with urgency to a biblical gospel, because the cost of not doing so is great for our lives, our families, our churches, and the world around us."
--Inspired by Radical, David Platt.