“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)
A BOOK REVIEW
It only takes a short time to catch on to the premise of this entire book. As early as Chapter One, the author speaks of our marching orders as Christians and (like Jesus) doesn’t sugar coat our call to obedience: “He was sending His followers out ‘like sheep among wolves. (Matthew 10:16-22)’” Jesus told them they would be hated and arrested. For “those who would obey Him, persecution was a certainty.”
So, we’re about to start a new year and many of us are thinking about our goals and resolutions. What if God wants us to wake up and live beyond the American Christian norm? If you want to be challenged to live beyond your capacity and see some amazing things from God, consider reading The Insanity of Obedience written by Nik Ripken.
Nik explains: “We generally want to relegate passages like Matthew 10 to the past. We want to keep passages like Matthew 10 as far as possible from our own experience . . . all the same time, we claim that we are utterly devoted to Scripture.” This book has a wealth of facts and challenges that come from fifteen years of in-depth interviews with over six hundred believers in seventy-two different countries. The results are eye opening, jarring, and convicting. One of the most prevalent messages of the book lies in the fact that we will face persecution and when it comes, we must remain obedient. This insanity of obedience helps us find true purpose and joy. Through story and Scripture, the author shows us that God wants to use our pain and sufferings for His purposes. I’ve always loved sharing that God wants to take the messy parts of your story and make them beautiful. I recently heard one pastor say, “My mess is part of my message!”
One of my favorite sections includes the exploration of obstacles that keep Christians from taking radical steps of obedience and the Gospel from taking root. The first obstacle shared is the preoccupation with a spiritual harvest – a measurable result. We are reminded that our task is to share the Goods News and leave the results in God’s hands. Because of this mentality, the author suggests that we gravitate towards ministry and mission fields were we will more than likely get great results instead of following God’s leading to the hard places. There are several other well explained obstacles in the chapter including the idea of only doing church one way, the need for security, staying away from harsh climate, and the pain of persecution.
Pick up a copy of the book and you will be challenged to consider the possibility that every Christian has been called to risk, that sometimes the hardest thing is to stay and not go, and that the Western church often idolizes it’s children and discourages them from taking radical steps of obedience in favor of seeking the American dream. Ya, I know. Right!? Tough stuff, BUT messages that will make us all rethink our allegiances and obedience.
If that’s not enough, the book takes us on a journey of God’s supernatural work in reaching Muslims and Hindus. God is at work in these areas and those who go to minister must join in on what God is already doing. The author states that 90% of Muslim followers of Jesus came to faith “without an outside believer from another culture.” The spiritual journey of many MBBs begin with dreams and visions and it has been through the encountering of miraculous healings that many Hindus have been starting their journey toward Christ. The final analysis? God has called us all to take BIG risks (even if we are not seeing BIG results) and God uses different (and sometimes supernatural) methodologies in different places to make Himself known. B&H Publishing provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.