With a subtitle like “Taking back your faith from the American dream” you know you are in for some convicting stuff and this does not disappoint.
While I read a lot of books, this one challenged me spiritually and convicted me in ways a book has not done in a long time. I found myself at several points wanting to put it down, not because it wasn’t good, but because I didn’t like how it pointed out blind spots in my life and thinking when it came to my spiritual journey. I’ll be honest. I like the consumeristic way of following Jesus. It is easier. It is easier to think that all the hard things Jesus said to his disciples in the gospels are for other people. Yet, and I love this line from Platt, “If you read something in the gospel and believe it was for someone else, it was intended for you.”
The premise of Platt’s book is that we have taken faith, following Jesus, and the gospel and fit them into our American way of seeing life. By doing this, we have sucked the life and faith out of what Jesus intended. He points this out in his last chapter when he expounds on Matthew 10 and the book of Philippians. He shows how Jesus is talking to his disciples tells them to expect exactly what Jesus got. To expect suffering, hatred, betrayal, persecution. Platt concludes, “To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus. The danger in our lives will always increase in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Jesus.” But that isn’t the end. Jesus ends by saying and Paul follows suit in Philippians, that death is the worst anyone can do to you. And that, by following Jesus, if that is what it leads to, that is a gain. That is better than living.
Now it is easy to see why Jesus was killed and people walked away from him. I’ve always heard people say, “If I met Jesus, I would follow him.” Really? Just about everyone who met him in the gospels walked away from him.
For me, chapter 6 “How much is enough?” is worth the price of the book. I found myself feeling the Holy Spirit say over and over, “Pay attention here, this is for you.” One thing I am thinking about and threw out to Katie today is what Platt said he and his wife did. They tithed from the beginning of the marriage, but then they decided how much was enough. They picked a dollar amount and when they made that much as a family, they would tithe the extra. So, if you make $50,000 your ceiling and you get to make $60,000 a year. This would mean that you tithe $5,000, but then you would also tithe the extra $10,000. Still mulling this over, but it really convicted me to spend some time thinking on that and seeing what God has to say.
Here is the end blurb on the book. If you like a safe view of Jesus, faith and the gospel. Don’t read this book. It will mess that up. Although, if that is you, you should probably read this book because what you might find is that you have the wrong idea of Jesus and may need to examine where you really stand with God. If you want to take your faith to a new level (where Jesus intended it to be) buy this book now.
You will be glad you did, because on the other side of that is a life of adventure, passion, risk. “The life,” Jesus said, “we’ve always wanted.”