I just finished up [amazon_link id=”B00ADUMU8C” target=”_blank” ]Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches[/amazon_link] by Johnnie Moore as my first book of 2014. Moore is the Vice President of Liberty University. This is a great book which combines the truth of grace with the “putting action to your faith” the Bible calls us to.
One of the first points which jumped out to me was Moore’s observation that Christians are often more concerned with holiness than happiness.
He says, “Christians might be thought of as holy, but they’re not always thought of as very happy.Does Jesus want us to be happy or holy?”
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “It is a Christian duty, as you know, for everyone to be as happy as he can.”
“God’s grace ought to make us happy people, period.”
“In Jesus’ time, happiness meant the virtue of having joy and satisfaction with your place in life.”
As we begin 2014, how are we doing with the blend of happiness and contentment?
Moore also speaks a lot of grace, which of course makes me like this book even more. (pun intended). He says,
“God’s grace is the most priceless gift, but your wonderment won’t keep you from replacing it, eventually, with mere religion.“
He explores why grace is so difficult to accept, saying, “it comes from a value system different from the one governing this world. It is the antithesis of the thirst for power that compels so many people to work so hard and to climb to the top by stepping on those they pass on the way. Grace is the enemy of looking out for number one and the survival of the fittest.”
Grace treats people precisely not as they deserve. We might be willing to give second chances, but grace gives the seventh chances.”
Perhaps my favorite part comes where he observes that God’s grace to us might actually mean something difficult happens or we fail a test.
In this chapter he relates the first hand experience of watching college students cry out to God to bail them out when they have not studied hard enough. They’re commitment and focus on God increases the more desperate they become. God may bail them out, or He may allow them to fail in order to teach and grow them.
We do this so often.
Moore likens this view of grace to reducing God to a grandmother spoiling her kids but reminding them of it in passive aggressive ways.
“The hardest kind of grace is when God does not just give us what we need, but what we deserve. Grace is not weak, it is meek. God is willing to cause you pain now in order to heal you later. Sometimes, God’s kindness to us comes as a kick in the pants.”
“Grace is free, but it’s also God’s. Sometimes its tough, sometimes its easy; but it is never cheap.”
“Grace is a down-payment on future transformation.”
The main point of the whole book is to inspire believers to embrace the message of grace in their own lives and scatter it to a world so desperate for it. This will result in personal and cultural transformation.
This sounds like a good goal for 2014.
Let’s embrace grace with the ultimate goal of multiplying it.
I encourage you to pick up a copy of [amazon_link id=”B00ADUMU8C” target=”_blank” ]Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches[/amazon_link]
[amazon_image id=”B00ADUMU8C” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches[/amazon_image]