Chapter 7 is titled “your best life ….later” I’ll let you figure out how he came up with the title. 🙂
You have probably heard throughout your life that following Christ is easy, that everything will work out fine once you place your faith in God. I don’t know how many times I have heard the phrase “the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will” But is that true? Is it really safe and easy to follow Christ? I don’t think it is, and this chapter does a great job of explaining the challenges and possible consequences of following Christ. It’s a great argument against the prosperity gospel that is being spread through the church today.
The chapter starts out with the following statement:
By now you’ve probably realized that you have a distinct choice to make: just let life happen, which is tantamount to serving God your leftovers, or actively run toward Christ. Do you recognize the foolishness of seeking fulfillment outside of Him? Do you understand that it’s impossible to please God any way other than wholehearted surrender?
Chan uses Hebrews 11:35-38 to show that even those who have faith may encounter trials, troubles, persecution, and danger. Following Christ is never safe, in fact Chan says that we simply cannot live in safety if we desire to please God. If we want to truly follow Christ, then 1 John 2:6 tells us that we must walk as Jesus did. Chan uses the rest of the chapter to talk about our responsibilities to live out our faith. This is a challenging chapter to read, because the church in America has become so comfortable and safe that we don’t take all the commands of Christ seriously. Here are some quotes from the chapter
- We see Matthew 25:45 as a fresh perspective on poverty rather than a literal picture of impending judgment.
- How would my life change if I actually thought of each person I came into contact with as Christ?
- Basically, Christ is connecting the command to “love God” with the command to “love your neighbor.” By loving “the least of these,” we are loving God Himself
- One of the clearest ways we love “with actions and in truth” is through giving to others.
- Imagine if the disciples had simply held onto the food Jesus gave them, continually thanking Him for providing lunch for them. That would’ve been stupid when there was enough food to feed the thousands who were gathered and hungry.
- The concept of downsizing so that others might upgrade is biblical, beautiful … and nearly unheard of.
- Walking in genuine intimacy and full surrender to God requires great faith.
- What are you doing right now that requires faith?
- Life is comfortable when you separate yourself form people who are different from you
- But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.
So are you living a safe life? A life of great faith? A life of comfort and safety? I urge you to take seriously the commands of Jesus to completely surrender your life to Him. Following Christ may not be safe, but it is fulfilling. If you have read this book, how did this chapter speak to you? I think it was one of the most thought-provoking and challenging chapters in the book. It made me want to start selling all my ‘stuff’ and downsize so that I could better minister to others. Let me know what you think in the comments below.