A Radical Christianity

christianity, jesus

I read Radical by David Platt a few weeks ago, and I have been processing it.  This book has seriously changed my life and my way of thinking.  I encourage you to read it.

The book is about how we, as “followers of Christ”, haven’t been following the real Christ.  We have been following our own, Americanized Jesus that we have crammed into our quest for the American Dream.  We have molded Jesus into our own image and rationalize his words in order to fit ours.

When Jesus called his disciples, he called for them to drop everything and follow him.  People would come up to him and ask, “What does it take to follow you?”  And Jesus would tell them to sell all of their things, leave their careers, not even go back and tell their families goodbye, and completely leave their whole life behind.  We read these stories and go, “Yeah, Jesus, I could do that for you!”  However we know that Jesus would never ask us to sell everything to follow him.  Jesus doesn’t want us to be poor and starve to death!  And Jesus would never ask us to leave our families behind.  Who else is going to take care of them?  Jesus would never ask us to be uncomfortable.


Jesus constantly told them that they were going to endure hardships in order to follow him.  They had to suffer if they were going to follow him properly.  But do we?  I wrote a post a year ago (exactly) entitled, “Finally Understanding What it Means to Die to Self,” and although my insight was good, and I was learning a lot at that time in my life, I did not indeed fully understand what it meant.

What are you going to have to do in order to follow Jesus?  What is it going to take?  Is Jesus really asking all of his followers to become hobos and forget their families in order to follow him?  Surely not, at least that’s what we hope.  So then no one steps up and lives radically so that another person might live eternally.  We have grown up being told that we must attain the highest status of money, status, and material things possible.  But that’s the complete OPPOSITE of Jesus’ message!

So what are we to do?  What are you to do?  I can’t tell you what you specifically are supposed to do.  I encourage you to read the book and read the Gospels and have a serious talk with the Lord about what it is going to look like for you to live radically.  I am going to share some of the things that I am going to do:

Sacrifice my money.  First and foremost, I’m going to make sure that I tithe, no matter what.  Secondly, I am going to refrain from buying things that I do not need.  I have never had very much money; by America’s standards I am classified as low-class and always have been.  If you know much about how I grew up, you would know that my dad has not had heating in his house for the last 3 years (including when that foot of snow hit there last week).  But even though I am considered dirt-poor by our American standards, I am still richer than 75% of the world just because I have a roof over my head and clothes on my back.  What am I going to do in order to sacrifice my money–sacrifice it, meaning giving it in a manner that hurts me in order to glorify the kingdom?  I sponsored a child last year through Compassion, but had to give it up because I couldn’t afford it anymore.  But I cut down on my phone bill and now have an itty bitty plan, and I am going to go deeper.  I’m not sure what that looks like completely.  I’m thinking a few things–donating my money to people’s mission trips, starting random acts of kindness for people, keeping money for when someone I know needs money and just giving it to them (paying it forward; I can’t tell you how many times I have been blessed by anonymous donations when I was strapped).  I’m also going to put a lot of money into my next point:

Go overseas.  I have made up excuses for a long time on this one, and I am honestly still terrified (and this is coming from someone who loves learning about other cultures!).  I am going to go on a mission trip overseas. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he said, “Go and make disciples of all nations…”  I have always read this and added at the end, “if you’re called!” and I know many who do the same.  But I am convicted that it is my responsibility to go overseas and preach the Good News.  Does this mean that I am abandoning my calling to innercity ministry?  No.  It means that I am going to other nations and not just sticking in my comfortable bubble.  In order for me to leave my comforts and follow Christ in a radical way, I need to go overseas.

Leave my family.  I read this book while I was visiting my family for Christmas, and it convicted me and caused a week straight of crying while I was home.  My family has been a stumbling block for me for a long time now.  My parents do not have relationships with Christ, as far as I can tell by their fruits and lifestyles.  I am constantly being weighed down by them.  I have noticed for the past few years that when I am around them, I get the most selfish and most “un-Christlike”.  This is due to their lifestyles’ impact, as well as the pressure of being Christ-like, as well as many other factors I’m sure.  I have realized that it is almost impossible for me to be a “good Christian” around them.  I try so hard, but I can’t do it.  In order for me to follow Christ, I need to leave my family.  This doesn’t mean I’m never going to talk to them ever again, that’s not what I’m saying.  I need to become completely dependent on God and quit being dependent on them.  Luke 14:26 says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. ”  As much as I love my family, my love for them needs to look like hatred compared to my love for Christ.  Am I willing to take a bullet or a beating for my little sister?  What more am I prepared to endure for Christ?  That bullet needs to look like I’m getting a daisy compared to what I’m willing to go through for my Lord.  So I’m going to detach myself.  I’m going to focus on trying to figure out what it looks like to follow Christ.  I’m not going to base my identity on how often my mom doesn’t call me, or trying to win over my grandma’s love, or being my sister’s parent.  This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but it is necessary for me to follow Christ.

This message of “Give up absolutely everything that is comfortable in order to follow me” is completely different from “Admit, Believe, Confess!” that we hear in our churches.  We read the gospels and say to ourselves, “Jesus didn’t really mean that we have to give up everything.  Just that we should be willing to.  It’s figurative.”  Oh, is it?  Are you willing to bet on it?  Is that a risk you are willing to take?

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