Whew! All I can say is the first chapter of Radical has rocked my comfortable world.
I am not sure any book I have ever read has packed as much of a powerful one-two punch as the first chapter of David Platt's book, Radical. I have only read the first chapter so far, but I can tell it is going to be one that is all over my toes, from the from the first chapter to the last. It is a book I am not only excited to read, but also terrified to read because I am sure it is going to cause me to question everything about myself, my faith, and my life.
The premise of David's book is that in America, we have replaced the Jesus of the Bible, with a Jesus of our own creation, one that is more comfortable and "fits in" with the American dream. His recount in the first few pages of those who are suffering to follow Christ in underground churches in Asia, immediately shocked me out of my comfort zone and made me recognize how comfortable and easy my life of faith is.
I immediately felt petty when I reflected on my own "sacrifices." The sacrifice of submitting to my husbands desire over my own. The sacrifice of serving when I would rather rest. The sacrifice of foregoing dining out once a month so I can give to a child through Compassion International. But the truth is, I haven't begun to suffer or sacrifice for Christ.
David declares that we have replaced THE Jesus, who called his followers to leave everything they knew to follow him with, "a nice, middle-class, American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn't mind materialism and who would never call us to give away everything we have. A Jesus who would not expect us to forsake our closest relationships so that he receives all our affection. A Jesus who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on our comforts, because, after all, he loves us just the way we are. A Jesus who wants us to be balanced, who wants us to avoid dangerous extremes, and who, for that matter, wants us to avoid danger altogether. A Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live out our Christian spin on the American dream."
He says the danger is that, "when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshiping the Jesus of the Bible. Instead, we may be worshiping ourselves."
David invites us on a journey from comfortable faith to a radical faith, one that will require us to commit to believe whatever Jesus says before we hear it and to commit to obey what we hear. He says, "The gospel does not prompt you to mere reflection; the gospel requires a response."
Can you imagine what America would look like and the impact it would have on the world if we stopped running after our own self-fulfillment and sought to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ, no matter what the cost to us? To step out of our comfort zone and abandon ourselves in radical faith and obedience to Jesus?
All I can say is I am glad I only have the first chapter at my disposal at this time, so that I can prayerfully seek the willingness to believe whatever Jesus says and obey him no matter what, before I move forward with this book.