Monday, May 05, 2008

Because He Loves Me -- the Gospel and My Everyday Life, or "Taking the Gospel to the Dentist"

Elyse Fitzpatrick's new book, Because He Loves Me has been released, and is available for purchase in the bookstore where I work. I had an advanced manuscript of the book -- thanks to my beloved academic buyer -- so I'm about halfway through the book right now. It is great. The content is top-notch. Thouroughly steeped in Scripture, applicable and practical, Elyse writes to us on how the gospel transforms our everyday lives.

Which it does! Elyse uses the mundane example of being stuck in traffic to show how the gospel can invade and affect every aspect of our lives, no matter how minute. The driver can sit in their car, irritated by the traffic, angry at the drivers around them, feeling defeated and feeding their sin by stewing about it, or they can stop and consider the gospel. C.J. Mahaney would call it "preaching the gospel to yourself". Instead of thinking "Why do I have to wait in this stupid traffic?" the questions we should rightly ask are Why would God send his Son to die for me, Hiswretched enemy? or Why should I be a partaker of His never-dying love? Elyse writes: "the only answers to these questions is that God, who is rich in mercy has loved us with his great love and showered us with his grace!"

So I took this to heart today during my dentist appointment. I was dismayed to learn that my teeth were significantly decaying and I'd have to get further work done. I lay in the dentist chair, in a bit of pain, a bit discouraged, and just a touch frightened. Suddenly, the realization popped into my head that I had forgotten the gospel. So, as the dentist continued his work, I began to consider the blessings of the gospel. My decaying teeth reminded me of the decay of my body, my finite, temporary shell that bears the marks and repercussions of the fall -- death. And even though my body is all the time dying, death is not the final victor, for Christ has overcome and crushed death to death.

Elyse goes on to point out another vital connection between the gospel and the Christian's everyday life. Using Ephesians 4:32 as an example, she points out the imperatives in this verse (be kind, forgiving, etc.). Most believers notice those things and focus there -- I know I can tend to do that. But Elyse gives us a new pair of glasses to put on, which show this verse through the lens of the gospel. She says "can you see how the imperative 'Be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving' is firmly anchored in the indicative, 'you're forgiven in Christ'? This verse demonstrates a beautiful synergy that not only tells us what to do, but also plants within our souls the only motive that will empower God-pleasing compliance: what God has already done. We've already been forgiven in Christ. So many of us cavalierly gloss over what he's done and zero in on what we're to do, and that shift, though it might seems slight, makes all the difference in the world. Our obedience has it's origin in God's prior action and forgetting that truth results in self-righteousness, pride and despair."

Good book. On a completely superficial level, I will say that this book is also one of the most beautiful new books I've seen. Children's books often get this kind of beautiful artwork on the textured slipcover as well as illustrated header pages inside, but grown-up books rarely get this sort of treatment. Because of the universal applicability of the content, as well as the beauty of the book, I'm recommending this book as the #1 Mother's Day and graduation gift this year.


Sara Mincy said...

Very, Very timely! I have to go back to get more work done at the dentist on Wed. I am always scared and not happy at the dentist- so I will meditate on God and my hope in Him!!!

GloryandGrace said...

I got mine in the mail this past week, too! I'm looking forward to reading it this summer :)

Gretchen said...

Aunt Diane,

I found you some resources for mentoring. These are great books!

Spiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt
Becoming a Titus 2 Woman by Martha Peace

Also, a great book to read through together with this young lady would be Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. There is a new version of this out called Lies Young Women Believe, which may be better, if the woman is younger and still single.

Love you! I will pray for you as you seek to pour into this young woman's life.

Sarah said...

I am deeply convicted, just reading your review of this book. What a wonderful reminder of how much life-consuming my following of Christ ought to be.
Thanks for sharing about this will go on my (long) to-read list! :-)
Miss ya, girl!