Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Two Books That Have Helped Immensely During Trials

For months and months now, Abby and I have been struggling against the sin of anxiety, feeling that we are in a time of trial focused on our finances and direction in my career. Two books that have helped me during this difficult period are C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters and Tony Evans' Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Neither of these books is perfect: C.S. Lewis' book alludes to both his teaching that Christians may lose their salvation and that some who never trust in Christ will yet find salvation due to their sincere service to their own religion(s); Tony Evans' book is occasionally fuzzy and emotionalistic in terms of the Christian's experience of God (at certain points, the reader almost gets the idea that we should each expect God to appear in some kind of "burning bush" to us individually). However, both of these books contain a great deal of spiritual gold for the hungry soul (to mix metaphors).

Two related truths that particularly blessed me from The Screwtape Letters were: 1) that I should focus on both the present and on eternity, not feeling burdened by the past nor by my (unknown) future in this world; 2) that I should be concerned with what God would have me do in whatever situation I find myself, not being racked with concern over unanswerable questions about what might happen. [NOTE: those familiar with the format of The Screwtape Letters will realize that these truths are taught in reverse; the character Screwtape- a demon- counsels his nephew to distract the person whom he is tempting away from thinking on these and other spiritual matters.]

Abby and I studied Between a Rock and a Hard Place with our Sunday school class at New Georgia Baptist Church, and we were both greatly blessed by this book. Evans focuses on biblical-historical accounts from the lives of Abraham, Moses, and the apostles, and he demonstrates how those who are seeking to follow God are often brought into difficult, soul-wrenching trials by God Himself. God uses these trials to increase our dependence on Him, bringing us into fellowship with Him. In these trials, I am to persevere in faith and to remain thankful for all the many blessings that God has poured out in my life.

I heartily recommend both of these books to any Christian who is feeling overwhelmed by life's circumstances.

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