Monday, September 06, 2010


Are YOU a radical? No, really, ARE you? I'm more and more convinced that you and I both should be quite RADICAL...that is, if we follow Christ like he expects us to. Radical in the sense that we are so different than the world around us that others will see us as a radical people. You see, if we really begin to read Jesus' word for what they are (truth), and not just a story or history, and if we actually listen to the Holy Spirit when he talks to us, God just might get ahold of our hearts and show us what it really means to follow Him.

So, why do we not follow Jesus? Why do we settle for the American Dream, as if it were synchronous with Christianity? Well, for many reasons, I believe. But I believe the biggest reason is comfort. We have come to believe that if we go to church, read our Bibles, work hard and honestly, and are "good people", we're good to go. Doesn't that make sense? God would not call each of us to a life of risk. We say: "The safest place to be is in the center of God's will." We think, "If it's dangerous, God must not be in it. If it's risky, if it's unsafe, if it's costly, it must not be God's will." This is how most western Christians think...and in fact, we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences.

So, let me ask you a question: When's the last time you read Matthew 10:16-39?
Jesus was speaking to his disciples then, and to us today, saying:
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.
“But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you
will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
“But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that
hour what you are to say. “For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause
them to be put to death. “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to
the end who will be saved.

So, Jesus said that HE was sending us out into the world as sheep (helpless animals, quite stupid, actually),
and that there would be wolves all around us (those wanting to devour and kill us). And Jesus says that we
Christians will be handed over to courts and they will scourge us...and that we'll be a testimony to the people.
So, my question for you, and for myself, is: if we are not suffering some form of persecution due to our faith,
does that mean that we're not really LIVING our faith? You see, there's so much more to this reality of
suffering for Christ's name...look at a few passages: Da 12:12, 13; Mt 24:9, 13; Mk 13:13; Lk 21:17, 19; Jn
12:12, 13, 15:18, 19, 20, 21; Heb 3:6; Jas 5:11; Re 2:10. Some of these deal with the end times, some of
them deal with now, today. So, it seems Jesus expects us to suffer IF we're following him.

When's the last time YOU suffered for your faith? Maybe it's simply ridicule, or maybe more. A friend of ours was killed in Afghanistan a few weeks ago because she was a Christian (one of the aid workers). She was
showing Christ's love to all that she met, regardless of who they were. She was murdered, point blank. Because she followed Jesus. She had counted the cost. She knew there was a huge risk in serving over there...don't think for a moment she hadn't thought about it. But, then again, who says we're supposed to THINK about any of this? Jesus is SENDING His disciples out into harm...and he tells us to endure to the end! Folks, this is very convicting, isn't it? It sure doesn't seem difficult for us Americans to "endure to the end" does it? Jesus said that "You will be hated by all because of My name." (Mark 13:13). Are you, am I, hated because of Jesus' name?

As if this weren't convicting enough, Jesus emphasizes all that he's been saying/teaching to the disciples when he says that "He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:39). And later on, the Apostle Paul also writes about this aspect of suffering persecution due to bearing Christ's name:  "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2 Timothy 3:12
I think it's high time that we lose our lives in Jesus so that we can find them. We have made our American Dream equal to a life of following Jesus, whereas Jesus doesn't ever promise comfort in this world, but on the other hand, he promises suffering and persecution. The American Dream is NOT the answer, and it's NOT synchronous with true Christianity. We need to keep our heads and hearts in Scripture so that we can understand the culture we live in, and remember what the point of this life is: to spread the gospel to all nations.

Now before you think I'm on my "high horse", you need to realize that God's still working on this in my life right now. But, the thing is, I'm convicted by the areas of my life that need change. I'm praying and asking God to do just that: to change me and make me more like Him,  e-v-e-r-y   s-i-n-g-l-e   d-a-y.

How about you? What's your response to the Words of God in Scripture? Where are you at in your growth with understanding God's call on your life? Don't suppress the Holy Spirit, listen to Him and let God work in your heart! I pray He keeps working in mine and transforming me into His likeness more and more.

Please refer to David Platt's recent book: RADICAL, Taking back your faith from the American Dream. There is a lot in there that has got me thinking...and it will do the same for you too!

1 comment:

Meaghan Fox said...

Ben I'm almost done reading Radical by David Platt and it has totally changed my way of thinking, too!! I've always wanted the American dream, but realized(through that book) that it isn't about comfort but about living our lives for Christ and sharing His love with others. God has really spoken to me about important it is to share the Gospel with others and has started to prick my heart to be a missionary overseas... that's so neat you wrote your blog on that b/c i've just been reading that book and thinking about that topic(: