I obsess over reading. I truly do. I prefer reading non-fiction books that will help to strengthen my faith over what others consider the greatest classics (that's why I haven't finished The Catcher in the Rye yet, but I will). I rarely ever read one book at a time. I have a couple of books sitting on my night stand, magazines and more books in a basket inside the restroom, and a bookshelf full of books that I've already read, are on my "To Read" list or belong to my hubby's seminary collection. So imagine my sense of sheer joy when I found out about a month ago from my fellow blogging friend, Melody, that I could read books for free. I immediately jumped on the Blogging for Books bandwagon and placed my first order for David Platt's Radical.
I must say that this was not another Christian self-help book and it certainly wasn't another feel good about yourself book. Immediately I found myself immersed in not only the message Platt was trying to convey but I was keenly aware of my great depravity. Basically Radical is about taking back our faith from the American dream. He says that we have become so consumed with materialism that we rarely live like Christ commanded us to, storing up our treasures in heaven. Rather we spend our short lifespan on this earth focused on ourselves.
The key is realizing--and believing--that this world is not your home. If you and I ever hope to free our lives from wordly desires, wordly thinking, wordly pleasures, wordly dreams, wordly ideals, wordly values, wordly ambitions, and wordly acclaim, then we must focus our lives on another world. Though you and I live in the United States of America now, we must fix our attention on "a better country--a heavenly one." Though you and I find ourselves surrounded by the lure of temporary pleasure, we must fasten our affections on the one who promises eternal treasure that will never spoil or fade. If your life or my life is going to count on earth, we must start by concentrating on heaven. For then, and only then, will you and I be free to take radical risk, knowing that what awaits us is a radical reward (Platt, 179).
Platt places a great emphasis on the need that, we as Christians have, to do what Christ has called us to do in the scriptures. Yet we know so little of it and have a distorted view of Christianity that caters to our needs and wants, not a genuine desire to serve God no matter the cost. He goes on to say that we take some verses at face value like Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." Yes, that promise applies to me! Yet other verses like the one found in Matthew 28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" we can easily disregard by justifying and rationalizing, "That's not my calling." I'm not pointing the finger, trust me, I'm just as guilty as you are of this.
One thing I realized while reading this book was this: "If all of us professing to be Christians lived like Christ calls us to live in His world then others would not think we were radical." All of us would be doing exactly what God called us to do and therefore there would be nothing extremist or crazy about it. Yet so many of us, myself included, have epically failed. We have failed to love our neighbor as ourselves, we have failed to share God's saving message, we have simply failed to live this life like if it didn't matter whether we died tomorrow because our true reward would be in heaven. We have truly been ensnared by the elusive American Dream; the closer you are to achieving it, the more you realize how discontent you truly are. In the words of the wisest man that ever lived on earth, "I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind." (Ecclesiastes 1:14) Will we be reminded of this today and begin to live life on this earth as if the only thing that mattered was what's to come in eternity? Let's make His name known.