I just started reading Radical by David Platt. To be honest, I’m kind of tired of reading Christian books. I feel like I’m getting the same message over and over again… so needless to say, my hopes weren’t that high when I started this one.
But, I’m only on page 12, and he’s got a pretty good point already. So good, that I want to share it with you. So bear with me, and keep reading. This is a long quote, but it’s worth your time. Practice some patience. :).
Platt writes, “Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of these eager followers of Jesus in the first century. What if I were the potential disciple being told to drop my nets? What if you were the man whom Jesus told to not even say good-bye to his family [Luke 9:61-62]? What if we were told to hate our families and give up everything we had in order to follow Jesus [Luke 14:26, 33]?
This is where we come face to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love him in a way that makes our closest relationships in this world look like hate. And it is entirely possible that he will tell us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor.
But we don’t want to believe it. We are afraid of what it might mean for our lives. So we rationalize these passages away. ‘Jesus wouldn’t really tell us not to bury our father or say good-bye to our family. Jesus didn’t literally mean to sell all we have and give it to the poor. What Jesus really meant was…’
And this is where we need to pause. Because we are starting to redefine Christianity. We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable 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.
But do you and I realize what we are doing at this point? We are molding Jesus into our image. He is beginning to look a lot like us because, after all, that is whom we are most comfortable with. And the danger now 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” (pp. 12-13).
Whew…. heart check, anybody??
Father, wipe this mentality away from my heart and my mind! May I be molded into your Son’s image, rather than attempting to mold him into my own. Give me a mentality of holding Scripture above my life, of living under your authority. I want to come to you without preconceived ideas based on my own feelings or entitlements of what you should be like. I want to extract everything I know to be true from Scripture. God, help me to make that separation between truth and lie. You are endlessly worthy of my life’s devotion and praise. ALL praise and glory and honor and power to you, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.