From the Publisher
Praise for The Pressure's Off
“If, like me, you see blessing-centeredness rather than God-centeredness as a great weakness of American evangelicalism, you will hail this exploration of the freedom and joy of grace as timely therapy, a word in season that we all needed. May it be widely read and thoroughly digested.”
—J. I. PACKER, theologian and author of Knowing God
“The evangelical church, choking under a pervasive legalism/moralism that suffocates the human spirit, finds a powerful voice for freedom in Larry Crabb. Writing from the inside out, he presents a vibrant way of living with passion and without pressure.”
—BRENNANMANNING, author of Ruthless Trust
“C. S. Lewis wrote about prosperity knitting us to this world, and while we are seeking our place in the world, the world is actually finding its place in us. Dr. Larry Crabb has constructed a compelling narrative that shows how we have imprisoned ourselves by using the world’s ways to ‘get something from God,’ instead of appropriating God’s way to receive something from Him.”
—CAL THOMAS, syndicated columnist and author
“Dr. Crabb not only gives us a clear mandate to celebrate Christian freedom, he also is our accompanist and exemplar on the Way of Freedom. You know he has walked that way with you. A remarkably personal message.”
—JAMES M. HOUSTON, Chancellor Emeritus and professor of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.
“This book makes a very important statement about how to live the Christian life. It takes the Christian beyond the obstacles and disappointments and, above all, beyond the age-old enemy of self straight into the arms of grace. Once there, the pressure is off. A real worthwhile read.”
—FRANK RETIEF, Presiding Bishop, Church of England in South Africa
“At last we have a book that confronts contemporary Christian culture with its increasing tendency to be taken up with blessings more than the Blesser. I doubt whether anything Larry has ever written, or may write in the future, will contribute more powerfully to the needs of modern-day Christians than The Pressure’s Off.”
—SELWYN HUGHES, director of the Center for World Revival and author of Every Day with Jesus devotional
Read an Excerpt
Right now, at this very moment, you’re walking one of two paths through life.
you’ve decided that what you most want out of life is within your reach, and you’re doing whatever you believe it takes to get it
you’ve realized that what you most want is beyond your reach, and you’re trusting God for the satisfaction you seek. You want Him. Nothing less, not even His blessings, will do.
If you’re walking the first path, your life is filled with pressure. Inside, where no one sees, your soul is weary. You see no way to step off the treadmill. Or life is going well, and you’re satisfied. But you sense something’s wrong, something’s missing. The pressure is still there.
If you’re walking the second path, you have hope. Your soul may be weary, your interior world may be filled with struggles no one sees, but you have hope. At times you rest. Something is alive in you; the desire of your heart is not smothered. You can taste freedom. And the taste brings joy. The first path is the Old Way. It involves a quid-pro-quo arrangement with God or, if not with God, then with the order in the universe, with the rules that make life work. If you do what you should, then you get what you want, either from a moral God who rewards good behavior or from an orderly world that you effectively use. It leaves you in control of how things turn out in your life. The Old Way promises a better life filled with good things that make you happy.
But it never delivers, though it may seem to for a long time. The Old Way doesn’t work for one reason: You never keep your end of the bargain, not completely. No one does.
The second path is the New Way. In this arrangement, God first plants a desire in your heart, a longing that actually values His presence over His blessings; then He invites you to live out that desire, to abandon yourself to what you most want. It takes you out of control, but it sets you free. The New Way promises a better hope than the good things of life. It promises nearness to God, and it delivers, though not right away and often through suffering.
Most people live the Old Way all of their lives; most people who go to church live a religious version of the Old Way. It goes something like this: If you want good kids, raise them according to Christian principles. If you want a good marriage, understand a biblical model for marriage and live up to it as closely as you can.
If you want God to bless your ministry, follow godly principles of leadership. If you want to be emotionally healthy, practice spiritual disciplines and trust Jesus for your needs.
If you want close friends, learn to accept yourself and to be vulnerable, authentic, and forgiving.
People who live the Old Way believe the Law of Linearity, a law that states there is an A that leads to the B you want. Figure out what A is, do it, and you’ll have the life you most desire. The pressure’s on.
People who live the New Way believe the Law of Liberty. They come as they are. They do not bathe before they approach God. They come to God for the bath. They feel no pressure to change either their inner life or their outer life, but they desire change in both spheres. And they are eager to do whatever will create the opportunity for change, even if it means dipping themselves seven times in a muddy river or marching around an enemy’s wall for seven days and blowing trumpets. They live for the truest desire of their hearts: to know God and to enjoy Him. They do not live for a better life in this world. And when their life here is hard, when things fall apart, they most clearly reveal who they are. They’re citizens of another world who most want what this world can never provide. So they wisely indulge their deepest desire and trust God to reveal Himself to them. That’s the Law of Liberty.
Most of us are living the Old Way. Some of us can feel the emptiness it never fills. We’re working hard to make life work so we can feel good. The pressure’s on.
There’s a new way to live that takes the pressure off. Join me as together we search for it.