I first read “Radical” and “Crazy Love” as a brand new Christ follower. Both books rocked my world. The idea of abandoning everything commonly accepted as normal and desirable in our American culture for Christ was way out there. In their respective works, David Platt and Francis Chan each do a great job of shaking us and waking us from the stupor of the comfortable.
If you read “Radical” or “Crazy Love” you either had momentary shivers of improbable excitement at the thought of selling it all and going to share the gospel in the far reaches of Africa … or you were stabbed with pangs of guilty apprehension because deep in your heart you know you’d never let go of your stuff, and you’d never ever go to a third world country. Regardless of your reaction, David Platt and Francis Chan echo the heart of Jesus in their writing. When HIS life ….. HIS words impact your heart and penetrate your soul, then living a life of sacrifice and purpose focused on His mission isn’t so radical or crazy … it’s a natural response. Action is required.
Americans in general have skewed attitudes about money, possessions and what we think we need to be comfortable. The pursuit of bigger, better, faster, prettier has turned us into a people living far beyond our means, often living paycheck to paycheck, dissatisfied, always in the hole, juggling credit cards just to have basics like food and shelter.
Slaves to the lender. Been there. In our previous marriages, Mark and I and our respective spouses were poster kids for making ridiculously poor money choices. Needless to say, back then God was not a part of our money conversations. Like most people, we were all more interested in getting what we thought we wanted than honoring Him with our finances.
Scripture is rich with instruction regarding the handling of money, wealth and possessions. In both the old and new testament being in debt is viewed as a negative. Plus, God is very clear (and obviously concerned) about the condition of our hearts when it comes to finances and generosity. (Want to know a little more about what God has to say about all this? Just Google “Money Bible Verses”. Bible Study Tools has put together a pretty good list of verses on the subjects of money, possessions, debt and giving.)
Good news though …. it IS possible to reverse the damage done by years of really terrible, awful, unhealthy money attitudes and decisions. Financial freedom won’t happen overnight, but it can and will happen if you begin to apply biblical financial principals to your everyday life.
For us financial freedom began with choosing to do things God’s way and wanting to honor Him with our finances. On this journey we’ve allowed Him to shape our attitudes about money … where it comes from, Who it belongs to and what it is for. We tithe and have become cheerful givers. We’re learning to loosen our grip on possessions. We’re making sacrifices to live more simply. We’ve paid down and paid off debt. We’re becoming more content with less. We’ve asked God to streamline our finances so we can be more generous. Our desire is to be obedient, and to prepare for whatever is next …. to be in the position to respond to whatever God calls us to do, wherever He would have us do it.
Now, with our current home under contract downsizing and debt reduction is becoming more real, and radical is beginning to feel just right.