What does it look like to practically obey Jesus’ commands to forsake everything to follow Him? Is it possible to live an ordinary life that still honors God? In this video, David Platt explains how each Christian can live a radical, set-apart, ordinary life of obedience to God. In Luke 14, Jesus instructs His hearers to forsake everything – a radical command, both then and now. At its core, this command calls believers to live differently from the world, doing things for God’s glory rather than personal gain. The command to live differently applies to all of God’s people, each of whom can glorify God through their career, words, actions, decisions, lifestyle choices and so much more. Each Christian is called to glorify God in the mundane, ordinary moments of their daily life.
- Jesus’ Radical Command
- Different from the World
- Living for God’s Glory in the Ordinary
How Does Radical Fit in the Normal Christian Life?
David used the word radical. Your book is titled Radical, but isn’t what you’re talking about just normal Christian life or how is it different? And is it even possible to live like you’re calling us to, how the Bible’s calling us to, just an ordinary everyday life?
What is Radical?
That’s a great question. Sometimes I’ve heard people say, “Why’d you call it Radical? Why don’t you just call it normal? Because isn’t this normal for every follower of Christ?” And I thought, well, normal’s not the greatest book title. The Normal Christian Life that’s… But radical. Here’s the way I think about that. I come to Luke 14 and I hear Jesus say, “If anyone would come after me, he must hate his father, mother, wife and sister, brother and children. If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, an instrument of torture and death and follow me. If anyone would come after me, he must renounce everything he has.” That sounds pretty radical to me. It sounds pretty radical I think in the first century, and it’s pretty radical in the 21st century.
What is Normal Christian Life?
Now, there’s no question that this is normal Christianity. I mean, this is Jesus saying, “This is what it means to follow me.” But I think when we’re living out normal Christianity, and following the Savior who said those things, that it’s going to look pretty different than the rest of the world, and it’s going to look rad… I think we’d be fooling ourselves if we read Matthew 10 and see Jesus’s instruction to his disciples as they go out, and he’s saying, “When you go out, they will hate you.
They’ll persecute you. And you know that because they’ve persecuted me. Don’t fear. The worst thing they can do is kill you.” When he’s saying things like that and he’s saying, “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” He’s calling us to something that will look very different from the rest of the world. So radical, I think is the right word there. I’m not trying to even offer a qualifier where there’s Christianity, normal Christianity, then there’s radical Christianity. I’m saying Christianity in its essence is pretty radical in this world.
Now, the question is, all right, so how does that coincide with ordinary day-to-day life? You got three kids and you drive a minivan and you’ve got a nine to five job and you’ve got all the things that are involved in the day-to-day Christian life. This is where I’m zealous to see those two come together. Radical devotion to Christ, coming together with the ordinary day in and day out of our lives, so that we think through, okay, what does it mean for me to deny myself and live for the glory of God, live to spread the gospel of God to the ends of the earth in the context of ordinary day-to-day life?
I’ve heard it asked before, questions come up numerous times. I don’t know why it always is, what about the factory worker who has an ordinary job, who’s just trying to provide for his family and hears this radical call and he thinks, is what I’m doing sub-Christian in some way? And oh, this is where I want to say to the factory worker or whoever, we’ll stick with that example. Okay. Brother, you have been created by God for his glory in all nations. And by his grace, you’ve been saved by God for his glory in all nations. How can you best live your life by his grace on a moment, by moment basis for his glory?
Working with God
That fundamentally starts with you walking with God and prayer and the word and providing for your family and work and gifts, skills, job that he’s put you in. We live for the glory of God and that we work for the glory of God. And so using your skills in the factory to do this for long days, that’s glorifying to God. You’re doing that to provide for your family. If you’re not doing that, if you’re not providing for your family, then you’re worse than an unbeliever, Paul says. So we do those things.
Now, along the way, that’s not all we do. There are other commands from Christ including a command to make disciples of all the nations that he is given to you, he’s given to us as a church. So who is in your sphere of influence, who you can share the gospel with, and who you can pray that the Lord will bring to himself and draw to Christ. And then how can you help that new believer once they come to Christ, grow in Christ? And so to see disciple making in the context of, okay, my life, my family, the community I live in, the job I have, how can I make disciples? How can I do that here?
I mean, you think about Jesus, he spent the majority of his life in one isolated geographic location. He was making disciples in a way that would spread far beyond where he lived, where we’re talking about this 2000 years later as a result of disciple making. How can your life, on a daily basis, fuel that kind of movement of the gospel, just one by one in other people’s lives. At the same time, to be aware, there’s a bigger picture here.
There are nations, 6,000 plus people groups that have never even heard the gospel. So as you’re praying, let’s pray. Let’s pray with a global mindset. Hallowed be your name in all the earth among all the people groups of the world. So let’s pray. Let’s be a part of what God’s doing around the world from our knees. That’s part of the radical experiment, encourage people to consider at the end of that book.
And then, how can you give? What resources do we have, do you have, that you might be able to make sacrifices here or there? Maybe they’re even just small, to say, “How can I give for the sake of urgent, spiritual and physical need around you in your community and around the world?” And then maybe, how can I go? Is the Lord leading me to go?
I mean, every follower of Christ, I think, should have a blank check on the table to say, okay, wherever he wants me to go, whatever he wants me to do, I’ll do that. And so if he wants me to work in a factory in another country for the spread of the gospel, then I’ll do that. So to ask, are you leading me to do that? And wait for him to answer. And maybe he is leading, maybe he’s not. Maybe he leads you to go short term at some point, maybe he doesn’t, to some other context where the gospel is less accessible.
That’s where I see… I would say that to the factory worker or the stay-at-home mom or this or that. There are so many ways this plays out in our lives, but the key foundations are still the same. We want to follow Christ wherever he leads, however, he leads, and we want to make the gospel known, and we want to give ourselves zealously to that.