I’ve been thinking a lot about risk lately. In my little circle of Reformed theology, taking risks for God is currently cool. It’s in. It’s what all the cool kids are doing.
Piper and Platt and Chan are writing about crazy, don’t waste your life, radical love. And I really am grateful for these guys. I’m grateful that they are encouraging my generation to go hard after God. I’m grateful for the Harris brothers are challenging young men and women to do hard things for God. If any of you guys happen to stumble onto this, please feel my gratefulness.
But I’m starting to think that we might be getting the principle right, but getting the application wrong.
Here’s what I mean: When I read the books on being risky and radical and crazy, I come away feeling like I need to do something really, really big for God. I need to take a risk by uprooting my family and being a missionary to India. I need to be crazy for Jesus by adopting four Vietnamese orphans. I need to be radical for Jesus by starting an inner city ministry to the homeless.
If I’m not doing something big for God, I’m wasting my life. If I’m not going big for God, I might as well be sitting in front of a slot machine in Vegas, slowly throwing my life away.
Now don’t get me wrong, all those things I mentioned above are good. If God calls you to do those things, do them with all your might!
But if I don’t do these things, am I wasting my life? Am I not being crazy radical enough? I don’t think so. Here’s why: Being a Christian is fundamentally radical, risky and crazy.
In Mark 8:35, Jesus said, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” To be a Christian, we must lose our life for the sake of Jesus. We must be willing to give up everything for the sake of Jesus. This is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. Jesus gets all of my life. Jesus gets all of me. Whatever he says goes. I am no longer my own. That’s crazy, radical, risky talk.
What does this look like practically? What does it look like to be radical for Jesus every single day?
Well, it actually looks pretty ordinary. At least in the world’s eyes. Being radical for Jesus means fighting against our sin aggressively, and being willing to do whatever it takes to cut sin out of our lives (Matt. 5:29). It means blessing those who hate you, and giving your possessions to your enemies (Matt. 5:39). It means being poor in spirit, meek, and hungering and thirsting after righteousness (Matt. 5:2-11).
The Bible’s description of the radical Christian life is not particularly sexy or glamorous.