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(Review) Think Again: Relief From The Burden Of Introspection by Jared Mellinger

Publisher and Publication Date: New Growth Press. April 10, 2017.
Genre: Nonfiction, introspection, Christianity.
Pages: 192.
Source: Free copy from New Growth Press and Litfuse Publicity Group.
Rating: Excellent.

Link at New Growth Press for more info: Think Again. 

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Landing page for the Litfuse Publicity Group tour: Think Again. 

About the Author:
Jared Mellinger joined the Covenant Fellowship Church pastoral team in 2006, upon graduating from Pastors College of Sovereign Grace Churches. He became senior pastor in 2008. Jared graduated from Kutztown University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education. He enjoys reading, rollerblading, poetry, drinking coffee, building fires, and listening to Josh Garrels. Jared is the author of Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection. He resides in Glen Mills, PA with his wife Meghan and their six children.

Summary:
Evaluating yourself-being mindful of who you are and what you are doing-is necessary and can lead to positive change.
But what about the dark side of introspection? Do you ever feel weighed down and exhausted by your own self-analysis? Perhaps you made a mistake, said a careless word, or even messed up big time. Your self-examination spirals into a full-blown cross-examination. You keep revisiting what happened. Your mind circles around the event, fruitlessly trying to somehow make the outcome different so you don't feel the embarrassment, shame, and regret.
The modern self-esteem movement has left us empty and self-focused. We exhaust our healthy introspection and pervert it into constant self-evaluation, wrong views of ourselves, self-accusation, and false guilt. Introspection was never meant to bear such weight.
Think Again offers real relief from the burden of introspection that so many of us carry each day. Pastor Jared Mellinger, who tends to overdose on self-analysis himself, shows us how the hope of the gospel can rescue us from the bad fruit of unsound introspection. Mellinger's short, story-filled chapters help readers identify and turn away from unhealthy introspection.
There is an outward-focused God who delights to rescue an inward-focused people and lead them into a better way to live. When we truly understand it, we'll see that the gospel actually sets us free from thinking about ourselves too much. We can seek after and pray for the peace and joy-the sanity-that comes from thinking about ourselves less often. 

Think Again includes practical instructions for self-examination, fighting false guilt, breaking free from hyper-introspection, and more. Ultimately, Think Again demonstrates that the solution to thinking too much about ourselves is to look to Christ, and it gives readers the tools to begin to turn from the mirror.
My Thoughts:
Jared Mellinger is quick to explain in the introduction: introspection and self-examination is okay. "The Bible commends self-examination and self-reflection." However, some people examine themselves too much and are exhausted by insecure thoughts, critical words, and second guessing. They become hyper-focused on what is circulating in their brain. This is not what God intended. Page two, states who the book is written for: people who are stressed and tired from introspection, caregivers of those who are burdened by introspection, and to teach what God wants us to know about introspection.
Several reasons led me to give Think Again an excellent rating:
  • A solid introduction. Mellinger states who the book is written to and why it was written.
  • Quotes from classic Christian authors. For example: Charles Spurgeon, Martyn-Lloyd Jones, John Calvin, Johnathan Edwards, J I Packer, J C Ryle, John Bunyan, John Newton, Paul Tripp, C S Lewis, and Tim Keller. 
  • An early statement in the book got my attention: "We must stop looking at ourselves so much and learn to enjoy Christ." Page nine. This is something we know in our mind but do not carry over in living it out. 
  • "We tend to base the way we feel about ourselves on our appearance, our performance, or how we measure up against others." Page 25. This is another convicting and teachable point. 
  • Chapter four defines why we self-examine. "One reason we look inward is because we know it is a necessary part of the Christian life." Page 43. 
  • Several scripture verses are given in chapter four to reflect on the reason it is necessary to examine self: 2 Corinthians 13:5, Lamentations 3:40, 1 Timothy 4:16, Proverbs 4:23, Ephesians 5:15, and Romans 12:3. 
  • Subtopics in chapter four: "A desire to honor God", "An introverted personality", "The pursuit of peace and joy", "Dwelling on our sin", "Seeking the cause of suffering", "The pride of self-absorption".
  • The strongest point, and question, in the book is on page 87: What does self-examination "produce in us?" Discouragement is really a selfish attitude. "The more humbled we are about our sin, the less discouraged we will be about our sin. Humility always leads to comfort in Christ; discouragement leaves us in our misery."  Page 88. 
  • My favorite quote, and one I think of often: "We must learn to see grace in the mirror." Page 93. Instead of seeing the bad in our lives, look for where God is at work. Look at what God has already accomplished in us through His grace. Amen!

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