Publisher: B and H Publishing Group May 1, 2014
Genre: Non-fiction, Gospel, Salvation, Sanctification
Rating: 5 Stars for excellent.
Source: Free copy from B and H Publishing Group in exchange for a review.
The review was first published at The Christian Manifesto.
Available @ Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Lifeway, Mardel.
I'm reminded of a quote: “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” Quote by Tim Duncan.
Why do we try so hard as a Christian to be “good”? Do we want to score points with God? Do we want to make a positive impression with other people? Is there a point when “good” is “enough”?
The “good enough” merry-go-round moves faster, until we're dizzy in the “performance”.
Our life should be a reflection of God's Spirit who abides in us and is working in us, not a reflection of our self-achievements and advancements.
Matt Chandler, reminds us in chapter one, we are limited by what we can do. We cannot redeem our self, this is why Jesus Christ died on the cross for remission of sin; nevertheless, people continue to look to others and to themselves, to quench the desire for love and adoration.
Recovering Redemption, takes a deep steady gaze in to the reasons of why we are unable change ourselves. The changing of a person from the inside out, can only be accomplished in and by Christ Jesus. It is not accomplished in a frenzied dash, but rather through God's Gospel penetrating every recess of our heart, mind, and soul.
“The Gospel, remember, means 'good news.'” And for news to be good, as we said earlier, it must invade dark spaces, such as the dark, crooked paths we've already talked about: a futile trust in ourselves, a needy co-dependence on the approval of others, a tawdry love affair with the world, a pretend game of righteousness based on the rigid, arbitrary rules of religion. Into each of these same dark spaces, Jesus was saying to the people of His day, just as He's said and is saying to us...Repent and believe. But, this repenting and believing is not merely a one-time occurrence. Sure, the gospel does involve an initial repentance from sin and belief in Jesus Christ. That's true. That's what we call salvation, regeneration, various other words in the biblical vocabulary. But 'repent and believe' is much, much more than that. It is a foundational theme that continues forward in the life of a Christian.” page 65-66.
Chandler moves from expounding on the principles for why people want to earn God or others approval, to how the gospel grips the heart of a believer, to how people can be tripped and snagged in trying to change because of addictions and unresolved issues from the past. Then Chandler states in chapter six, “a real game-changer”, conflicts with people. This was my favorite point in the book, I loved all of the book, but this topic really spoke to me... more like poked me. “The conflict you're having is not primarily about them; God is working in this conflict to reveal something about you.” page 106.
Stop thinking about what they're doing or should not be doing, stop trying to figure them out; instead, what do I need to learn from this?
There have been several treasures I've taken away from this book, but this quote stands out and has affected me, it's mentally tattooed in my mind and heart.
It's not an accident that difficult people enter my life, but it's God ordained, in order for me to “learn something about” myself. My response is to be humble before God and surrender to His teaching.
Matt Chandler is a writer that does not hold back, he's honest, he speaks plain (as my dad used to say.)
An honest approach is a breath of fresh air to me, Chandler does not hide behind a suit with churchy words, his language is one of straight-forward context, and with a punch of God's gospel.
I've read other books on similar topics of ego, transparency, good works, sanctification. But, Chandler has an inborn talent for teaching with clarity and influence. He speaks on a level anyone can understand.