Several things struck me when reading this chapter.
I, too, have been frustrated at times with the “feel good” message some seem to preach. I have left services thinking that the message that was spoken was true, about how much God loves me, and He won’t ever leave me. But I have also thought, my sins are wretched. My self-righteousness is life filthy rags to my Father. Why was that part left out? I also remember as a teenager, getting very frustrated with some adults that I had observed, and it seemed that they thought God owed them something because they had shown up at church on Sunday. I vented about it to my folks. Daddy just half way smiled, and raised his eyebrows, as if he knew something that I did not. He did. He knew a lot more. He knew that in my youth, things seemed so cut & dried to me, and that as I got older, things might get a little hazy. Now I see that, I, too, at times, have been guilty of that very thing, self-righteous attitude.
Quote from pg 28, 2nd paragraph, “we desperately need to explore how much of our understanding of the gospel is American and how much is biblical.” The last time I went on an overseas mission trip was in 2003, and I went to Honduras, and after seeing believers there living out their faith on a daily basis, I (somewhat) understand this statement. I was so disturbed/distressed (not sure of the right verb to use here) by their obvious faith & my seemingly lack of it, I talked with Dario (the Honduran pastor) and he said, basically, their faith is all they have. They cling to it, their faith is their lifeline. He said to me, “You have everything. You can live life on your own. You have no need for Christ.” and I even went on to think, “Well, do I really need Him? or do I only think I need Him when I am in a crisis?” I have to ask myself, do I practice an “American” version of the gospel, consumed with myself, and going through the motions of “religion?”
This was 7 years ago, and my walk with Christ is – I won’t say completely – but very different now. Even now, I like to think that I need Him, but really, do I? need Him every single day?
OK, back to Radical….quote from pg 41, last paragraph, “I invite you to receive it…a heart that is not only cleansed of sin but now longs for Him.” That is so where I want to be! to long for Him, for my strongest desire to be for Christ, to know Him, and be filled with Him, His Spirit & His love for others, instead of filled up with ME.
3 hours have passed since writing the above. There are two more points that I cannot stop thinking about. pg. 31 - 3rd paragraph, "The gospel confronts us with the hopelessness of our sinful condition." Two years ago in Bible study, my leader told us she had begun praying that God would reveal her sin to her. She told us that we had better not pray that until we were ready. to. deal. with our "stuff." A few months later, I began to pray about that & asked the Lord to "reveal it to me in small doses." Oh boy, was I in for it -- He began to reveal things to me like 1)unforgiveness & bitterness 2)control (wanting it, a lot more than I realized or wanted to admit) 3)pride - ironically, I had prided myself in the fact that pride was not something I really thought I struggled with. isn't that funny? and more issues to be covered another day. Reading this today has reminded me that I need to pick that prayer back up...and ask for more small doses.
Last thing - pg. 40, paragraph 1, "I pray that we will be a people who refuse to gorge our spiritual stomachs on the entertaining pleasures of this world, because we have chosen to find our satisfaction in the eternal treasure of His word." Entertaining pleasures of this world -- would that be books? movies? internet surfing? facebook? OUCH. those are my toes....