Book Rec: Radical by David Platt
March 27, 2012 2 Comments
Here is a book where the author actually has the guts to practice what he preaches. Or should I say, who does what the Scriptures actually teach. If you’re like most people, myself included, you fantasize about the American Dream on a semi-daily basis. Someday you’ll have that car featured in that movie. Maybe this time I’ll win that house on the HGTV contest. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with wanting those things, or even having them. But often it’s our pursuit of those things that cause our hearts to go awry. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a better life. Just be careful of wanting a better life now. When we set our eyes on the fleeting things of this earth, rather than what’s to come in Christ’s heavenly kingdom, we can easily become distracted from what’s important and grow cold and sour that we don’t have more.
That is not how God intended us to live.
Yet, we constantly find ways to fake-bless our things. As David Platt shares in Radical, we have become masters at twisting the Gospel to meet our needs right now in our comfortable culture. Even in our churches we have a line of programs and events and shows and games and we say it’s all blessed because we tag Jesus’ name on it. (The people who hear the Gospel as a cozy, entertaining show, like a lot of churches portray, will be sorely disappointed when they discover what Christianity is really all about.) Even one non-Christian friend I work with noted that most Christian books are self-help books that just throw God’s name on every other page. He’s right. But this is not one of those books.
I’ll warn you upfront. This is not a comfortable read. Pastor Platt asks two questions that ought to be keeping us up at night. Am I going to believe Jesus? Easy peasy. Even Hitler reportedly believed in Jesus. Here’s the part that ought to keep us tossing and turning at night: Am I going to obey Jesus? Sit on that for a while.
Concerning the way most of us are going about our comfortable lives, Platt says that we’re “conforming Jesus into our image.” He’s right. A lot of us have fooled ourselves into thinking that Jesus is a middle-class, easy-going American whose offering the next best business opportunity. But in this book, Platt shares a handful of stories of people who follow a more accurate, less comfortable Jesus. There are people who meet underground, in secret, just to pray. People who sell everything to live in some undesirable part of earth to be with seemingly undesirable people. I’d like to tag a thought on this. Some people probably think these Christians are the most foolish people on earth, with no aspiration whatsoever. I think they have more desire to grow rich than the man in his corner office overlooking Wall Street. He invested a lot to get to where he is. But the people who give it all away have invested the most and they know that the return on their investment will be much, much greater.
I leave you today with a passage from Radical and truly hope you pick it up. “He (Jesus) has created each of us to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, and I propose that anything less than radical devotion to this purpose is unbiblical Christianity.”