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Yesterday I posted my reading list, well here is a book that I just finished reading, but before I review the book Follow Me, I want to take a minute to discuss why it was to poignant for me personally.
I came to a realization last week– this is the longest that I have gone without going on a mission trip. Now everything makes sense. I have an itch that I can seem to scratch, an anonymous spiritual craving that I didn’t know how to satiate.
To help you understand I need to tell you something of my life. Growing up I would go on a mission trip every summer. I spent two weeks to a month overseas every year except for one from age 13 through 20. I went to Peru, Thailand, Mexico, Germany, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Peru, China, China, and China (there are several of posts on that last trip on this blog), and I went on several within the States as well.
Last summer I couldn’t go on a trip because I had a move, a new job, a wedding, and a honeymoon. This summer, I have a husband to take care of and not enough vacation days to go around. Right now I have what I call “The Missions Itch.” It’s something my mother has seen on an annual basis and can diagnose in a heartbeat.
So what do I do about the itch? Many of you who are reading and know Will and I well know that we actually met on my second trip to China. You also know that we share the common passion of reaching and discipling the people who live there. It is our goal to live there for a season of our lives which is a driving force in our marriage, a goal deep within both of us that keeps us close and keeps us strong.
You are probably thinking, “Devra, what’s the big deal? You know that you are headed there again. So just work towards that and everything is peachy.” It’s just not what I am used to is all. That was a part of the point of my post “Growing up, Maybe” a couple weeks ago.
I want to share with you about a book that I gave an outlet and direction to the bubbling waters inside me.
The book I read was by David Platt, called Follow me. A word of caution, you can’t read a book written by David Platt and not have the junk convicted out of you.
The book is about the difference between claiming to follow Christ, and actually following him. It is essentially Radical‘s older brother. Radical makes is supposed to light you on fire and make you crazy for God, this book is meant to test the true metal of your discipleship. How deeply have you allowed soaking in God to penetrate into the very nature of your being?
Unfortunately, since Will and I are sharing the book I didn’t make many markings in it, so I don’t have a multitude of heart-string-pulling quotes to share with you. All the more reason for you to read it for yourself (that and the fact that he has an easy writing style to read).
But I do have this one nugget for you from page 131:
Such questions lead us to realize that far more important than looking and searching for God’s will is simply knowing and trusting God. We yearn for mechanical formulas and easy answers when it comes to the will of God, … We want to find shortcuts to the mind of God. But this is not God’s design – or should I say, this is not God’s will. … Instead, his ultimate concern is that you and I would know him more deeply as we trust him more completely.
Maybe that is what this current season is all about. I need to learn to soak in God and allow Him to seep out into every part of my daily life. I need to learn to see everyone, not just the Chinese people the way God does. Just because I feel called to the ends of the earth doesn’t give me the right to neglect Judea and Samaria.
That is what David Platt is saying in this book. It is good to want to big, crazy things for God, and it’s even better if you actually accomplish them. But the point of discipleship isn’t how many facebook status worthy conversations you go on, how many instagrams you post from the mission field, or how many CS Lewis quotes you retweet. The point of discipleship is a day by day, moment by moment breathing in the God’s Spirit and breathing it back out on others like 2 Cor 2:15-16 says.
This book doesn’t just leave you hanging with that big nebulous realization. David Platt gives a discipleship plan at the end of the book. A serious of several questions pointed at different areas of life and different spiritual disciplines which take the fact that the real goal of discipleship is just to know God and make Him known and put into the context of our actual lives and routines. So I love that unlike so many authors and speakers David Platt offers something tangible and practical.
One last interesting tid bit that is nestled in this book is a discipleship curriculum that David Platt and Francis Chan have put together called Multiply. Which you can check out the blog here and the curriculum here.