What Jesus really means is...

So I started reading this book called Radical by David Platt that really made me think about my faith in light of my culture or what my culture has formed it in to. I've only read the first chapter and already it takes me back to my first true thoughts of Christianity. I get so angry with myself because I've allowed culture to take over me. When I first became a Christian I knew what it meant to allow God to take over, I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew that I would have to give up my desires, my family, and friends. I knew that I would have to give myself up entirely. It's funny because I also read the Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis that year and he addressed the very same issues that this book is addressing.
It's funny because I knew these things, the things that the book is addressing, but I was pushed to think the opposite. Like in the Scriptures it says that I must hate my family (not so literally, but compared to how I should love Jesus, it should be like hate). I didn't of course literally hate them, the Scriptures is all about love, but I shouldn't let them get in the way of what God wants me to do.
How that looked when i first became a Christian was helping out in church. That's something so simple and yet my family would always say that i would place church above family. I never mean to put church over family, but I was compelled to help where help was needed rather than attend another birthday party, in whom I see or talk to this person everyday anyway. (I do love my family by the way). I'm sure this sounds terrible, maybe it does.
I made a commitment to follow Jesus and that meant giving up everything. It means picking up my cross (or in the writers words, my "electric chair") and follow him.
I don't know what that means right now though. I literally almost have nothing. I have no career waiting for me right now after college. I have no money to give. I have a loan I need to pay off when I get out of college. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. One thing that has come to mind right now though is that I have never spent enough time on people. I stay in my circle or on my high horse. My time is the only thing I can give. And I know what you're going to say, "you don't need to give up everything, God doesn't want you to go hungry or live on the streets." Yeah I know he doesn't, but when I see things like one church costing $23 million dollars to be built, and only $5000 going to the poor and hungry in another country, it makes me wonder what is more important, me having the minimum to survive, worshipping outside rather than a comfortable air conditioned church, or having people in starving countries go hungry for my selfish desires.
And this is what Jesus asked from the beginning. I have never seen a man more prone to pushing people away than Jesus. He told people to sell everything and give it to the poor. He said don't bury your father, let others do it. He said pick up your cross and follow him.
I have never seen a religion ask for anything like this. And ignorant people love to say that all religions are the same or lead to the same place.
I really encourage you to read Radical by David Platt. Hopefully it'll change your mind about being a Christian. Either it will let you know that you will be mediocre all your life or push you to be what Jesus actually meant by following him.

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