Are you happy with your life? Are you blessed? Are you pursuing the American Dream of a good job, a nice family, and a home filled with everything you need, and a bit more beside?
Even with the economy the way it is, most of us still hope that things will improve in the future—that we’ll someday be able to have that house-with-the-picket-fence and all the trimmings.
We love to read verses such as “The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and He adds no trouble to it” (Proverbs 10:22) and, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). We hear sermons about verses like this; we repeat them to others. As God’s children, we delight in the truth that they apply to us.
But what about some other verses…
Verses like, “… if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:20-21). Or, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (1 John 3:16).
Do we claim these as well—do we delight in these? God repeatedly tells us to expect suffering, to give sacrificially, to count all things as loss for the surpassing greatness of knowing Him.
If you think your life is going well and hope for it to get even better—if your faith revolves around you instead of around God—and you like it that way—then don’t read this book.
However—if you are dissatisfied with watered down Christianity, if you yearn for a deeper walk with God, if you are willing to be challenged by everything that is in the Bible—perhaps it’s time to get radical.
David Platt, pastor and author of the best-selling Radical, writes as a fellow pilgrim in this journey called Christianity, not as one who has it all figured out. Yet, he has made a beginning, and beckons us to follow him as he follows God.
Laying a firm foundation in scripture, he explains that we are blessed for a purpose—and it’s not all about us. Rather, he states that “We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.”
Yes. It’s all about God. He extends his grace to us so that we can glorify Him. As a new believer, I was taught that the chief end of man is to know God and enjoy Him forever. That’s true—but it doesn’t stop there. We are also called to spread the knowledge of the Lord throughout the earth.
We have a greater purpose than just living for ourselves. God invites—commands!—us to lay down our lives and take up our crosses for His sake.
Platt then spends the rest of the book explaining just how to do this. He urges us to value the Bible and invest ourselves in learning what God has to say. He challenges us to give sacrificially so that others may have enough. He encourages us to leave our comfort zone and cross cultural barriers to bring the Gospel to places where Jesus is not known.
In order to obey all God’s word, Platt points out that we need God’s power. We can’t do this in our own strength. And we can’t do it by ourselves. We need one another, as the body of Christ, to “encourage one another and build each other up,” as Paul points out in 1 Thessalonians. 5:11.
I read a lot of books, and I recommend those I find worthwhile. This book is more than worthwhile. If you take Platt’s challenge to embrace everything Jesus commands us, and not just the comfortable, convenient, “nice” verses… If you agree that God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others… If you are truly willing to put your life on the line for the sake of His kingdom… Join me in this amazing adventure with God.
If you read only one book (beside the Bible) this year, make it this one!