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Taking Christianity to a Radical New Level

Chan: “I try to please everyone in everything I do … ” So in a sense, he’s trying to be a people-pleaser in the sense of what he said earlier in chapter 9, “I’m just trying to be all things to all men … ” That’s what we have to model. Watch me. Here are a bunch of people who believe completely differently than I do. Watch. Watch how I’m going to try to be everything to them.

Be all things to all men. Why? Not so that they love me. That’s not why Paul does. It’s not to seek my own advantage. If I’m not living that kind of life, don’t follow me. 

Platt: I think this is part of the reason many people are hesitant to even think about this side of it, because this takes Christianity to a whole different level. To say to others, I’m going to live a life that’s worthy of imitation—how many are really willing to take that step? And if we’re not, there’s a deeper spiritual issue here.

Disciplemaking raises the bar of being a disciple in a way that it needs to be raised, but the beauty is that the Spirit of God is in us for this purpose. So for people to remember, disciplemaking is designed not to put our strength on display but our weakness on display and God’s strength in us on display.

Chan: I think it starts even with the pastor, and again, the pastor can get so busy doing so many things he/she isn’t stopping to look at his/her own life and say, “Do my actions resemble that of Christ?”

What are we multiplying here? We’ve lost the simple, obvious, “a Christian is Christ-like.” We have to look at our lives.

Like you said, we have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals this to us when we look at our lives and think, “A lot of people say that I’m an awesome leader … or I’m doing these great things … but am I like Christ? Do I serve people the way Christ would? Does my heart break over them the way Christ’s heart broke?”

Even as pastors, we get so busy doing this stuff, and we’re even looked at as being successful or even awesome or a role model, and we don’t stop to ask ourselves the question: Do I resemble Jesus? What the world needs to see is Jesus. Just put Christ central.

It’s not all these methods that make a person great and awesome. We use those words. This guy is the best. And yet, we’ll say that about people whose lives do not resemble Christ’s at all: His humility, His servant attitude, His willingness to sacrifice and put others before Himself.

Yet a person can be looked up to in this model, even for pastors to look up to, and we’re not asking the question, are they following Christ? Are they imitators of Christ? Does that person make you think if Jesus walked the Earth today in an incarnate, physical form, that would be pretty close right there? 

Are we multiplying that, or are we just admiring people the same way the world does?

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Francis Chan is a California-based pastor and author of many bestselling books including his newest, Letters to the Church (David C Cook, September 2018).