Neither Radical Nor Crazy

David Platt is not radical. And Francis Chan, in fact, is not the least bit crazy. Despite the titles of their best-selling books, they’re absolutely normal.

In Radical David urges readers to trade in the materialism and faux security of the American dream for a life of generosity, prayer, bible study, community, service and involvement in God’s provision for the spiritually and physically impoverished around the world.

In Crazy Love Francis asks readers to consider God’s lavish sacrificial love for them and the world and then respond by loving others likewise – living more simply, generously, passionately, obediently – together.

This isn’t radical. It sure isn’t crazy. It’s downright normal.

I’ve had the honor of meeting both men. David I only shook hands with and small talked for a minute but Francis and I have had longer conversations backstage, serving alongside each other at a few events. From our brief times together I walked away certain that neither man would label themselves “radical” or “crazy.”

Was it a publisher then, a marketer maybe, who foisted those labels on their words…and their life?

Unfortunate. Such labels lend credence to the lie we all tell ourselves: I’m not like them.

But we are like them, you and I. Forgetting this leads to an abnormal Christian life – Radically crazily sadly misinformed.

Jesus has invaded me to live through me here and now on earth. He has not removed my old desire to distance myself from Him by serving the gods of comfort and pleasure and security, but alongside that old desire He has installed a new one: His desire, a desire for intimate relationship with Him and others, to love as He loves, to “go and do likewise” at any cost, to be a disciple, an ambassador, a living letter written by God to the world.

Every Christian is possessed by Jesus. Jesus is in us believing, thinking, feeling, doing. It is not I who live, Paul said, but Christ who lives in me.

The Jesus who saw the crowds and had compassion on them is in me having compassion on children without dads, mother’s without food, kids without books, sinners who don’t yet know their Savior.

The Jesus who shook his fist at cheats in the temple is in me throwing a fit when a corporation robs children of their hearing, or my government aids in the theft of freedom.

The Jesus who stayed up all night for sweaty prayer is in me slowing down, pleading with Heaven.

The Jesus who wept outside the city is in my groaning for my neighbors who don’t yet trust Jesus to be their king.

The Jesus who welcomed children to his lap is in me teaching Sunday school and shooting hoops with my son.

The Jesus who forgave enemies from the cross is in me dialing the phone to extend an olive branch to someone who’s done me wrong.

For years I read the inspiring life stories of George Mueller, Mother Teresa, Blaise Pascal, Martin Luther, St. Francis, John Wesley…
And I longed to be made for such great things, to be such a saint, to have what they had. But, as it turns out, I had it all along: Jesus in us makes radical normal and desired and possible for all of us.

Last night I spoke about generosity to a crowd of university students and one young man stood in the lobby for a while afterward telling me how inspired he was, how he wanted to be a giving person someday – when he’s “called”, when he grows up some more, when he gets whatever it is he’s missing right now. “I want to be like you someday,” he said. “No,” I said, almost shouting,” you already are!

So we talked about Who lives in Him and what normal is…for a person inhabited by God.

Generosity is status quo for those possessed by Jesus. Sacrifice is everyday stuff for them. Prayer is breathing for a child of God. Reading God’s written words is no anomaly for one of His. Not always easy but desired, possible – normal.

Are you normal?