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Posted April 23, 2008
As I was reading Love Focused I felt, 'This is good this is meat for the spirit.' A lot of books just take up shelf space, but here's a book of substance--it's an enjoyable read and the most practical Christian book I've read in a very long time. Many Christians ask, 'Why isn't my life more exciting? Why do I act so unlike Jesus? Why can't I get release from my worries and sins?' Readers of this book will have what they need to start living out real Christianity: a God-centered approach based not on theory, but on reality. How did it happen that I made my Christianity so complex? Rules for this and options for that. Standards and laws. In contrast, Jesus was able to simplify the spiritual life to just two necessities: love God with all your heart, and love others as yourself. How do we evaluate Christian maturity? Often it seems to be by outward measurements: church attendance, Bible knowledge, conforming to some list of dos and don'ts. But God looks at the inner person and evaluates by one criterion: is the person learning to live in love? According to the authors, just trying to change our behavior, trying to act more loving, is not the ultimate answer. We may grit our teeth and do it (for a while), but let some stressful situation hit and we're more than likely to just lose it (and sometimes in a big way!). If my (unconscious) attitude is that God is not really going to meet my needs, then my (unconscious) response is to try and meet them myself...with predictable results. I'll try to control people and situations (and be frustrated when they won't be controlled). I'll damage relationships and destroy the peace that God wants me to experience. I'll be self-centered and anxious. And I'll miss the good life God intended for me to enjoy. The book does a wonderful job of contrasting a love focused life with its opposite (which they call 'an outcome focused life'). When we, instead of trusting God to be in control, try to control situations ourselves, we'll end in living as people-pleasers, or with addictions, denial, busyness, perfectionism, or using any number of other self-protective strategies. God, in His goodness, built a warning system into our lives. It tells us clearly when there's a spiritual problem we need to deal with. The warning lights are unrighteous anger, controlling fear, worry and impatience. The authors show us what each of these mean--and how God wants us to deal with them. It's powerful and liberating stuff! The last 90 pages of the book are on the power of love--God's solution and how to apply it in our lives. This is down-to-earth and practical stuff! It's not legalism and it's not perfectionism--it's life with God as He meant it to be. This is definitely a book to buy!
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Posted August 27, 2008