One of the primary reasons that I like reading the work of David Platt is the fact that the man pulls no punches. Although he is a man that exudes Christian love from every pore in his body, he is not reluctant to slam Christian traditionalists right in the kisser when such a blow is needed. For example, in his excellent book Follow Me, he calls the church to task for watering down the teachings of Jesus:
With good intentions and sincere desires to reach as many people as possible for Jesus, we have subtly and deceptively minimized the magnitude of what it means to follow him. We’ve replaced challenging words from Christ with trite phrases in the church. We’ve taken the lifeblood out of Christianity and put Kool-Aid in its place so that it tastes better to the crowds, and the consequences are catastrophic. Multitudes of men and women at this moment think that they are saved from their sins when they are not. Scores of people around the world culturally think that they are Christians when biblically they are not.
I am convinced that as Christians we’re not about programs. We’re not about bigger or better blessings. We’re about responding to people who call for help because their world is falling apart. These individuals aren’t looking to be converted – – they’re looking for help! Being their help – – by being the presence of Christ in their lives – – is the only thing we’re about. Everything else we do is secondary and can even detour us from carrying out the true purpose of the church.
Power is both the means and the end of politics in Washington, DC, but God’s politics is most concerned with the powerless – the least of those among us, whose interests are the most absent in election years and yet are the very ones Jesus would always have us “voting” for. This means we must care most about what happens to the poor and vulnerable, especially when both parties will make their appeals to the middle class voters and wealthy donors they desperately need. It means protecting human life and dignity and promoting the actual health and well-being of families instead of just substituting rhetorical devices around hot-button social issues in the pursuit of votes.
It means lifting up the people who have no political influence: undocumented immigrants, who are the “strangers” among us living in the shadows of a broken immigration system; low-income families and children, who face losing their nutritional and health-care support because others want to protect the subsidies and benefits to the wealthy people and interests that fund all political campaigns; and the poorest of the poor globally, who will die of hunger and preventable diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis because of cuts in foreign aid programs . . . . . . .
(from On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About
The character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments. It has been determined by all the “little” choices of years past – by all those times when the voice of conscience was at war with the voice of temptation . . .whispering the lie that “it really doesn’t matter.” It has been determined by all the day-to-day decisions made when life seemed easy and crises seemed far away – the decisions that, piece by piece, bit by bit, developed habits of discipline or of laziness; habits of self-sacrifice or self-indulgence; habits of duty and honor and integrity – or dishonor and shame.
(quotation from his speech at the Commencement exercises at The Citadel in 1993)
What if the Christian faith is supposed to exist in a variety of forms rather than just one imperial one? What if it is both more stable and more agile – more responsive to the Holy Spirit – when it exists in these many forms? And what if, instead of arguing about which form is correct and legitimate, we were to honor, appreciate, and validate one another and see ourselves as servants of one grander mission, apostles of one greater message, seekers one ultimate quest? That, I’d say, sounds like a new kind of Christianity.
But what would that one mission, message, and quest be? Around what one grand endeavor can we rally? What one great danger do people need to be saved from and, more positively, what one great purpose do they need to be saved for? Around what melody can we harmonize without trying to homogenize? Of many possible answers, there is one to which I am continually drawn, embarrassingly obvious and simple to understand, but also embarrassingly challenging to do: the church exist to form Christlike people, people of Christlike love. It exists to save them from the great danger of wasting their lives, becoming something less than and other than they were intended be, gaining the world but losing their souls.
When you have inquired of God and received a revelation of what you can become, you have a place to focus your faith. Be solid and fearless in what the Lord has revealed to you and he will bring it to pass. He says you will live by His faith.
God is your source! You have no ability to bring the revelation to pass, so don’t worry about how your revelation will happen. God is fully aware that it’s impossible for you. Even though you have no proof, your faithfulness and commitment to Him assure the manifestation of the revelation. Believe steadfastly and keep seeking Him first.
God’s objective is for you to live an outward-looking life – that is, not worried about yourself, but focused on the needs of others and how you can respond to those needs. When you embrace that mind-set, you are on the precipice of influence and success because that’s a perspective that God will bless. As soon as you start thinking about the needs and burdens of others, and what you can do to alleviate them, or how you can bless and build up others, you begin to establish a new identity for yourself – your true identity.
It doesn’t take a person with unusual training or ability to change the world. All it takes is a heart that cares, a mind that’s determined, a spirit that’s willing, a cause that matters, and a person to help.