Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sometimes it's worth it to just read a few pages at a time...

Sometimes I think it's worth it to just read a few pages at a time, because then you get to savor, meditate and consider what you read more deeply--rather than racing to the finish line as fast you can as I often do. When I come across a really, really good book, I love to savor it. Whenever I share with a friend that I review a lot of books or that I read 80 last year or 10 last month, their eyes open in surprise and ask "How?" I explain that I am a fast reader. I am. But, I also skim. I will admit to it. If a book is not that good, I just am not able to force myself to read every word. But, when a book is really good, I read every page and every word.

This year two fiction books would qualify for that. June Bug by Chris Fabry (Tyndale) and The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry (Moody Publishing). In non-fiction, it has been such a blessing to come across so many more that have drawn me in. The Cynthia Heald series "Becoming a woman of..." and Jerry Bridges books Trusting God, Respectable Sins, and now Discipline of Grace. Interestingly, they've all been published by NavPress.

This morning (after 4 months), I finished reading The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges. I remember starting it back in November. I read it alongside whatever Bible Study I've been going through for my devotions in the morning. At first, I was interested and then I lost steam and set it down for a few weeks. Then, in January, I picked it back up and began finding my way through it again. I wish everyone would read this book--I can't recommend it highly enough.

So many people come up against the question of Freedom in Christ and what that gives them freedom to do. And if they themselves haven't, I'm sure their children (who are a part of the entitlement generations) have. It grieves me to watch young people assert that they have the freedom to do whatever they want and that if someone tells them that they shouldn't, then it is legalism. It's not and Jerry Bridges explains that in his book.

There are several notable books on grace that have become classics. What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey and Max Lucado's book In the Grip of Grace are the two that come to my mind immediately. But, each of those books address God's Grace in a very different way than Bridges does. Yancey's book is all about showing grace to others and Lucado's book talks about what God's grace is. Bridges talks about God's Grace and what it means to live in God's grace each day and what it means to "preach the gospel to ourselves every day".

First, Bridges identifies what the gospel is. Then, he explains what it means to preach the gospel to ourselves--because both believers and unbelievers need to hear the gospel, but for different reasons. Then he goes on to talk about how we seek God's grace. It amazed me to realize the struggles that are all connected to this discussion of living out God's grace. He addresses legalism and discipline and freedom in Christ--in context. So often we discuss these topics separately, rather than as interconnected aspects of faith in Christ.

This book is meaty. It is not like a Max Lucado book. It is not as thick as a John Piper book, though or one of Eugene Peterson's spiritual theology books. I hope you will read it and that the eyes of your heart will be opened and that you will feel God's grace and seek it daily.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book from NavPress for review.

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