David Platt Radical Picture this: An American middle-class Jesus. He is wearing Calvin Klein jeans, driving a Honda CRV, living in a $275,000 home, and sending his children to private schools.

As far as religion goes, he is a “Sunday” believer. He goes to the nearest megachurch with the best programs, but much of the time he’s thinking about where he is going to eat after the service.

About once or twice a year he will do some sort of “outreach.” I mean, what kind of believer would he be if he didn’t share the gospel with someone occasionally? So, he hands out tracts to random people on the street and says,

“All you have to do is repeat this prayer, accept me into your heart, sign this card, and you’re in! Forget getting to know me. That takes way too much effort. But I’ll gladly give you eternal life. Don’t worry that I sacrificed everything for you.”

Yeah, I don’t see it either. If Jesus would never live a life like that, why are we so quick to crave it?

In David Platt’s book Radical, he discusses the lifestyle that Jesus is really calling us to when we choose to follow him. When Paul chose to follow Christ, he made it clear in Romans not be conformed to the world. Jesus calls us into a dangerous and extreme form of living. Radical, if you will.

When I tell myself that Jesus would never ask me to give up everything I have, I am conforming Him to my image. A Jesus who is fine with devotion that does not infringe on my comforts, because, after all, He loves me just the way I am. But when I go to church to worship this God, I may be worshipping myself.

That’s a scary thought.

The gospel speaks of a faith quite different from the cozy religion of the American dream of achievement and climbing the social ladder:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sister — yes, even his own life — he cannot be disciple.” — Luke 14:26, NIV

I don’t know about you, but I love my family, and definitely value my own life. Is it possible that I am called to love Jesus so much that my closest relationships on earth look like hate? What if He actually does ask me to sell everything I have and give it to the poor? It’s quite possible.

Do I, do you, really believe that statement? Or do we rationalize it and say, “That’s for missionaries and those called to ministry, not for me. Surely, it’s not for me.”

Jesus goes on to say, “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Now this is taking it to another level: Pick up an instrument of torture and follow me.

The cost of picking up my cross and following Jesus is steep. It will cost me everything I have. But I know that in the end the reward will be sweet. I will gain more than I ever had. The real question I must answer is: Is Jesus worth losing everything for?

The reward of the gospel is God Himself. When we risk our lives to seek after Jesus, we discover that safety is found only in His sovereignty, security is only found in His love, and satisfaction is only found in His presence. As Platt says, “This is the eternally great reward, and we would be foolish to settle for anything less.”

Simply put, a relationship with Jesus requires complete and exclusive devotion.

As Platt puts it, the proper response to the call of Jesus is a “new heart, new desires, and new longings. For the first time, we want God. We see our need for Him, and we love Him. This means seeking after Him, discovering the great reward of our salvation.”

Jim Elliot, a missionary who died for the gospel, once said, “Surely those who know the great passionate heart of Jehovah must deny their own loves to share in the expression of His.” This is the kind of heart I want. This is the love I desire to have for my Savior.

This is the kind of heart that propels men and women around the world to risk their lives to know more about Him. This is why our cheap version of Christianity that molds Christ to something we are comfortable with is not enough. This is the reason why we cannot settle for anything other than a God-centered, self-denying gospel.

In America, we have been taught since we were young that we can do anything we set our minds to accomplish. The American dream exalts our abilities. But this world is not about us, it’s about glorifying God.

The truth is that we are ALL called to “make disciples of all nations.” Every saved person is in debt to every unsaved person on earth. We are all called to go, to radically abandon everything we have. This calling is not for a special group of people deemed “missionaries.” It’s for the homemaker, the businessman and the teacher. We owe Christ to the world — to the least and the greatest person, to the richest and poorest person, and to the best and worst person.

We do not need to wait for God to place a divine calling onto our lives. Read the last sentence in Matthew; He already did that. Anything less than complete, passionate involvement in “going and making disciples” is selling God short by thwarting our very purpose on earth.

Jesus never said this radical obedience would be easy. It is a dangerous road full of trials and hardships.

Through reading Radical, I realized that I could be a better steward of the money God has given me. I was challenged to sacrifice my money for a specific purpose, and have decided to start saving the money I would have spent eating out after church, and putting it towards fighting social injustice. That’s my personal conviction. What sacrifices do you feel God is calling you to make?

Platt writes that the lifestyle Christ calls us to, “is not smooth sailing aboard a luxury liner; it is a sacrificial duty aboard a troop carrier. It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. It’s all about risking everything. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.”

I’m ready to take back my faith from the American Dream. How about you?

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  1. Amanda
    Jul 21, 2010
    at 6:43 am

    So far I’ve given up cable tv and a gym membership as a part of the radical experiment and leave in 3 days for my first mission trip! All praise be to God!

  2. Sarah Charles
    Jul 21, 2010
    at 7:32 am

    Great post! Thank you this really spoke to me!

  3. KORBET FINLEY
    Jul 21, 2010
    at 2:21 pm

    Rachel, my wife and I agree with you…or more appropriately we agree with Jesus! Thank you for being a radical follower of Jesus.

  4. Kathy Stewart
    Jul 21, 2010
    at 3:12 pm

    Hey Rachel,
    EXCELLENT call to action and commitment. You are a motivational writer, and I am SO THANKFUL you young people are continuing to CARRY THE CROSS.

  5. Sarah White
    Jul 21, 2010
    at 8:38 pm

    I just finished reading Radical as well, and I’ve decided to use the money from my summer job to sponsor three kids (two through Compassion, ironically, and one through Watoto). God really spoke to me through that book and I pray that He’ll continue to the same to everyone who reads it. Looking forward to what He’s got in store as I do the Radical Experiment.

  6. Norica
    Jul 22, 2010
    at 3:52 am

    WOW! I really like this article. The Holy Spirit lit a fire in me. I m now encouraged to share this to many who are willing to accept and face the truth. We get so caught up in our little worlds and our churches that we forget the truth. God has blessed most of us tremendously and all we do is complain.

  7. Jul 22, 2010
    at 5:27 pm

    Alright, can I be the lone dissenter just to shake things up?

    I agree to a point. I do think we need to guard against making God an afterthought in our lives. God should be the center of our lives.

    But I don’t like the idea of telling people that their lives must become dangerous or extreme. I think that each person’s walk with God and their growth as a Christian is something unique between them and God. For some it may be dangerous, for some it may be gentle. I think people should take their cues from God and the Bible — not from David Platt or the latest fad book.

    I’ve heard of David Platt and I’ve heard that he’s highly-educated and a very promising pastor. But I think it ‘s dangerous to try to dictate to someone else what the lifestyle is that Jesus is “really calling you to.”

    Does anyone else have similar feelings — or am I a horrible person and out on my own here?? ;)

    Where is Compassion Dave??? I want to hear his take — he always has something compelling to say on these topics. Compassion Dave, come back! :)

    p.s. Rachel Moye, I think your posts are great!! So this isn’t a knock against you. I would just love to see some discussion on the topic.

    • Apr 6, 2011
      at 1:31 am

      Well, I haven’t read this particular book, so I can’t really say anything about the book. But Jesus did call His disciples to give up all. As a matter of fact, a disciple means a learner and Jesus said that unless you give up all, you aren’t worthy to be called a disciple. I.e. you haven’t even started learning. The bar is set very high. I often think of this when I think of sponsoring the children. To God it is not an issue of how much money we give, to God it is an issue of how much do we keep. It is all for Him and He deserves 100% and we are just stewards.

      Having said that, I have two concerns, but again, they are not necessarily based on a book that I neveer read….

      1. We can not judge another believer as to what he gives or doesn’t give…. That’s between him and God. They might have a reason why they do some of the things that they do. For instance, I might have a child packet and talk with someone about sponsoring this particular child. If they don’t do it, I can’t judge them…. I turn away many requests myself. It’s not because I don’t like them, but because I have devoted myself somewhere else… Its’ stewardship. When Peter asked Jesus about one of the other disciples, Jesus’ answer was: “What is that to you….. you follow me.”

      2. We need to always remember that salvation is by grace, through faith and not of ourselves (Eph. 2:8) Rom. 4:5 states clearly that if someone doesn’t do anything but trusts in Jesus to save them, their faith is counted as righteousness. Salvation is by grace. It is by trusting upon Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection for our sins. You can not add to it by sponsoring children, doing good works, or anything else. We can just trust in what Christ did. Nothing more and nothing less.

      So, salvation is a gift of God (Rom. 6:23) but disciples requires everything that we have. Two different things… Very important to distinguish between the two of them.

  8. Jul 22, 2010
    at 5:35 pm

    Yikes!! I was just reading the reviews for the book on Amazon and noticed that Wess Stafford wrote an editorial review of the book and he loved it!!! Now I really feel bad! Urgh.

    But I would be interested to hear people’s comments on my post. :)

  9. Caren
    Jul 23, 2010
    at 3:34 pm

    We must be careful with this teaching, or it will become “works salvation”, or “your salvation is not equal to my salvation”.

    Every saved person is in debt to every unsaved person on earth.

    Really? Verse citation please.

    We are all called to go, to radically abandon everything we have.

    Pharisaical? Verse citation please.

    This calling is not for a special group of people deemed “missionaries.” It’s for the homemaker, the businessman and the teacher.

    We are also part of the body, the church; not a unicellular organism.

    That said I appreciate what David is doing at his church. I’ve watched his entire “Radical” series and recommend it to everyone. The difficulty lies in others explaining what David is trying to acheive with this book. That’s something only David can do.

    Here’s two outstanding “Radical” posts worth a read… here and here.

    @Lisa… Is it coincidental that Platt’s book appears here? There are no coincidences—are there?

    • Jul 24, 2010
      at 3:35 pm

      I guess what concerns me about these kinds of books is that they feel gimmicky to me. It’s like, “To be a better Christian, you need to become RADICAL and here are steps A, B, C, D that I want you to complete in one year.”

      So while I’m dropping everything to follow David Platt’s plan for my life, what about God’s plan for my life?

      I say buy David Platt’s book if you need some motivation or a good read — or even some ideas. But remember it’s NOT gospel. Dropping your gym membership will probably not make you a better Christian. (What if there was someone at the gym God wanted you to witness to?) The Bible will always be a better source of information and motivation. And God has the ultimate authority over your life and your money, not another human being.

      I’m just not sure it’s ever wise to suggest to another Christian what they SHOULD be doing with their life. That should come from God alone.

  10. Marvin
    Jul 24, 2010
    at 2:36 am

    This is a very interesting post. As a person living and working in Asia as a missionary… it is interesting to see people’s response. No criticism from me, but its about doing something…and then something for God. It took God many years to get me to the point of selling everything and moving to Asia. I don’t think that’s the point…the point is do you love money or God? If we love God we must move a little closer to him every day. If we don’t we end up loving our self. When our faith cost us nothing it ends up worth nothing. Last week a guy was baptized. No big deal? But for him it was…his family is Buddhist and he is the eldest son…by publicly showing his Christianity it creates some issues with his family and his job as the eldest son

  11. Lynn
    Jul 24, 2010
    at 8:32 pm

    I encourage everyone to read the book. There are a number of books out right now about how unbiblical the american church has become. This one is full of practical application, motivation and hope. I will also mention a song that could be a theme song to go with this book. All the Pretty Things by Tenth Avenue North.
    I have had to let go of alot during the last year and have found that the less I have (worldly things) the more I am experiencing the true life that Jesus has provided for me. Jesus says come follow Me and you don’t need to bring anything.

  12. Jul 27, 2010
    at 5:16 am

    I´m from Brasil and I realy like your post. There is a translation to portuguese from your blog ? if no I can translate this ?
    God bless you.

  13. Diane Nichols
    Aug 19, 2010
    at 5:45 pm

    We need to be careful of being too radical, our pastor says that a lot of times we can be the best Christian example by our actions in the supermarket, workplace, restaurant, etc. If we go radical we will miss all these places where the unsaved are. If we go too radical, it turns some people off. My family and I gave up cable TV, we are careful of the videos we buy or get at the library, etc. We use the extra time to read our Bibles and get closer to God, not everyone is called to extremes, some are called to quietly minister right where they are.

  14. Denise Jones
    Mar 25, 2011
    at 9:57 pm

    Hi, I think you all have very valid points. I have not read the book. I do want to point out that Jesus and his followers were considered “radical” when they roamed the earth. I think it all depends on what we ourselves interpret radical to mean. This word describes many different things according to who you ask.
    As a housewife, I can certainly say that I may not have had the “dangerous” life a missionary may have out in other countries, but I have had turmoils and tribulations. Heck at times this could be dangerous. If we (including myself) step out and reach out to those that Christ would reach out to, I am sure things could get “dangerous”. Plus we can still be housewives, mail carriers, teachers, whatever we happen to do.
    Since I have not read the book, or heard David Platt, and all I can go by is the blog, I interpret the radical to mean stepping beyond our comfort zone and seeking GOD not the American Dream we have been sold through commercialism. If GOD blesses us as we fully seek GOD and step out beyond our coziness, then this is awesome. GOD blesses in order for us to share and bless others. Anyway I am very guilty of desiring the American Dream. I pray and hope that I will someday shed all these things and be what Christ and the Father know I can be and want me to be. I often need a reminder that I am not here on this planet for my own selfish desires.

  15. David
    Mar 28, 2011
    at 11:03 am

    So if not the American Dream, what dream? The Chi-com dream, the Cuban dream, the Venezualan dream? It is not necessary to be ant-American to be filled by grace and minister. A strong America is good for the world’s poor, the oppressed, those without liberty.

  16. Mar 28, 2011
    at 7:34 pm

    Jesus said: Take heed that you do not your alms (acts of righteousness) before men…do not sound a trumpet as the hypocrites do in the streets, that they may have glory of men: verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But when you do alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your alms may be in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matthew 6)

    Saul was a man zealous for Israel. When the priest Samuel did not show up soon enough for Saul, before an important battle, Saul made an unauthorized sacrifice to try to get instructions, and I suppose to get favor from the Lord. The sacrifice did not benefit Israel, nor Saul nor the Lord. Saul lost the Kingdom.

    Study the Word (the Bible) to know the Word (Jesus), He will lead you in all your paths.
    Never forget that our Heavenly Father owns the catte on a thousand hills (basically everywhere). He is capable of relieving all poverty everywhere even as I write this. He has given opportunity for us to be a blessing to others, to be the hands and feet and mouths of Jesus. OH wonderful blessing! Do so prayerfully as He has called you to. Do so faithfully (full of faith) as the measure of faith is given you.

    On a personal note: I was saved under the simplest of Gospels: Jesus came and died to save me. that’s it! But He also gave me a very valuable life (priceless) that will be full of wonder and fullfillment, as I seek Him and trust Him. I could be the ceo of a fortune 500. I could be pastor in a large church, or a little fellowship. I could be a guy with 4 other people in the house praying I don’t get sick ’cause where would we all live if we loose the house?

    Challenge people to know Jesus. First to come to Him to trust Him to believe in Him, for there, there is eternal life. Then challenge them to really get t know Jesus – In Scripture, through prayer, and in fellowship in His church. He will do the rest.

    If this is you, don’t let anyone cause you to doubt your commitment because you have a home and feed and clothe a couple of God’s children. Beyond that seek the Lord, and strive to enter into His rest.

  17. Apr 6, 2011
    at 1:36 am

    So if not the American Dream, what dream? The Chi-com dream, the Cuban dream, the Venezualan dream? It is not necessary to be ant-American to be filled by grace and minister. A strong America is good for the world’s poor, the oppressed, those without liberty.

    I don’t think the writer of the blog was suggesting people to become anti patriotic. I think she was merely saying to not live for self….

  18. Apr 6, 2011
    at 1:43 am

    We need to be careful of being too radical, our pastor says that a lot of times we can be the best Christian example by our actions in the supermarket, workplace, restaurant, etc. If we go radical we will miss all these places where the unsaved are. If we go too radical, it turns some people off. My family and I gave up cable TV, we are careful of the videos we buy or get at the library, etc. We use the extra time to read our Bibles and get closer to God, not everyone is called to extremes, some are called to quietly minister right where they are.

    If there truly is a heaven and a hell. If Jesus will come back for us…. If we will be with Him for all eternity and if people are going to spend an eternity in hell, then it is impossible to be too radical for Christ!.

    The big question is not if a person can be too radical, it is how we live out being radical…

    Sometimes the best thing a person can do is to take care of themselves…. But it is all in the motivation…. It’s not for self. It is so that we can serve others better…. Having said that…. I need to go to sleep…. LOL

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