Friday, October 17, 2008

A Good Word on God's Will

Our good friends, Eric & Shelly, loaned us with high recommendation, The Jesus of Suburbia: Have We Tamed the Son of God to Fit Our Lifestyle? by Mike Erre. They sent us their copy just days after we arrived from Ukraine (with lots of other things for Dietrich and Josie, of course). With all of the other books that I brought home to read and study, I wasn't sure when, or even if, I was going to get to it. But I picked it up yesterday and haven't been able to put it down. I should be done by the close of the weekend. It's very readable but, at the same time, a strong challenge to some of our 21st century Western conceptions of Jesus and Christianity. It helps immensely to have had Mike as a classmate in seminary and to have seen his dynamic oratory style. Images of him preaching the text make it much more alive than it would otherwise be. In any case, the book confronts our culture with the cost of true discipleship and challenges people to put their faith in the Biblical Jesus, not in the mass-marketed, feel-good, meet-my-needs Jesus so prevalent today.

In chapter 2, there is a section about God's will. I think many Christians (including myself for a good stint of my adulthood), at some point, feel the anxiety of whether or not they are doing God's will, stress over how best to know God's will or fear what will happen if they do something outside of God's will. A deep trust in God's sovereignty and several attentive reads through Scripture should help relieve most of these anxieties, stresses and fears. That, and keeping in mind these words from Mike …

"God is more committed to having you walk in his will than you are … Pharaohs stood against God and failed; Nazis and communists have tried to stamp out God's movement and succeeded only in spreading it farther; Caesars and Herods have shaken their fists at God, but no one has ever been able to stop the purposes of God in history. Why then, if we believe God to be that powerful, do we think we can so easily miss doing his will? God is so good, so sovereign, and so caring that he will reveal his will to us if our hearts are open. There are no magic formulas to this, no seven-step lists to memorize, no guaranteed incantations. There is just the simple trust that God will lead us where he wants us to go and we cannot miss it if we simply keep our eyes open." (p. 30-31)

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