- Is this biblical? If so, why does it sound so radical? If not, what about it is not?
- Is this applicable? If so, what am I doing about it? If not, why not?
- What does "holiness that hurts the eyes" mean? Does my holiness do this?
- Do I "pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on me"? Should I?
Take some time with this. I know I have. The main challenge I'm dealing with is how much of my comfortable lifestyle is God's blessing, and how much of it is my unwillingness to take risks for Jesus; even if taking risks is as simple as being bold in conversation, or sacrificing Saturday mornings for service, or trading my next new DVD to feed the poor. To quote John Piper in response to 2 Timothy 3:12, and the general fear of persecution in the Church today: "We have so domesticated the concept of godliness into inoffensive middle-class morality and law-keeping that this verse (or this concept) has become virtually unintelligible to us."
Not only does society, or even the Church, shy away from such radical talk as it relates to risk-taking faith, but also, it shys away from the idea of hell or the wrath of God. We don't worry about taking risks for Jesus, because life is easier and safer as it is, and the consequences aren't that big a deal anyway. So if we accidentally waste our life or our time on temporary pleasures or luxuries, God will understand and forgive us and we'll still end up in heaven. Or so the mindset goes.
In outrageous form, Piper says, "There is no radical Jesus without hell. Everything becomes Milquetoast without the wrath of God. He came into the world to rescue us from the most horrid thing in the world. And once you get that straight, then having your head chopped off is minor. (Matthew 10:28) ... Who talks like that in America? If you strip that away from Jesus, he's a local guy. He's just no big deal."
The Lord and Savior I worship is a big deal. People know Him.