Digging Deep Into My Favorite Reads // part two
If you happened to miss Part One of Digging Deep Into My Favorite Reads, click here to catch up.
These five books that we’re discussing today are not the average Joes of literature. These are the kinds of books that are timeless, because they’re saturated in truth from God’s Word. They’re the kind of books that you have to reread paragraphs to make sure that you got it all right. I must warn you, though, they’re books that will sweep you off your feet if you give them the chance. But before they sweep you off your feet, while you’re dancing along to your own pretty little song, they step on your toes. It might hurt. But it’s worth it.
Christianity And Liberalism by J. Grashem Machen
If the kids these days were to read this book, they would say that Machen slayed with this one. Christianity and Liberalism was published in 1923. The book is set up in six topics, all the while discussing what Liberals and Christians believe about each one: Doctrine, God and Man, The Bible, Christ, Salvation, and The Church. He challenges the Church to not be content with preachers who merely “don’t deny Christ” and instead seek something better. To seek truth and to not falter in it. To follow after Jesus because you love Him for His whole being, not just because He’s a nice guy and blesses people. The predictions that he made about what America would become without proper education, families, and churches is both terrifying and inspiring to do better all at the same time. Machen challenged me to tackle the hard questions with no fear and to let go of sugar coating completely.
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer is set up into five parts: the community, the day with others, the day alone, ministry, and confession and communion. This book was written in the 1950s, and I was pleasantly surprised (although I shouldn’t have been) how relevant all of Bonhoeffer’s words were on the topic. It was 122 pages. Therefore, it was so much of an easier read, but I promise you that it does not lack quality. This book convicted me and made me uncomfortable. Which is precisely the reason why I should pay attention to the sole message: that God is not a God of emotions. Moreover, He is a God of truth. That even though community life is hard and you have to fight for it, Christians need other Christians. I highly recommend this book for anyone, but more specifically I want to call out church leaders and small group hosts to give it a try as well. It wrecked my tidy little view of idealistic community. I hope it stretches you, too.
Eat This Book by Eugene H. Peterson
Eat This Book was written by the writer of The Message Bible. I was skeptic to read this one, because you hear so many contradicting responses about The Message. After reading this book, I started reading The Message. I don’t use it as my sole source for my day-in and day-out times with the Lord, but I understand the importance it has in our generation now. We must dissect the Word of God and find life in making it real in our lives. As a translator of the Greek New Testament myself, I loved what Peterson had to say about studying and then living out God’s Word. One of my favorite things about studying the Bible is that you’ll never exhaust it – which is something he addresses. You can spend time in all the extracurricular books you want and understand what the author meant, but there’s always something new to learn in the holy Word of God. If you’re in a season of dryness and dare to think that the Bible is boring and just like any other book (we’ve all been there), I highly recommend this exhilarating book of encouragement.
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Y’all, this book. Dietrich Bonhoeffer faces the children of God’s problems and goodness head on: obedience without resistance, being able to live in the total absence of fear, and inwardly freeing yourself from all your earthly possessions. He advocates what he calls God’s costly grace. By Bonhoeffer saying that God’s grace is costly does not mean that Bonhoeffer believes we must earn grace. It simply means that Jesus paid our heavy sum so that we could be free. This alone should bring us into true repentance (and, therefore, not into the grace we ourselves cheapen by labeling our continual habits of sin justified). In this book you dive into the importance of seeing the whole of Scripture for what it is, not just for what you want it to say. This book is about the time that Jesus knocked on your door, invited Himself in, and became the most disturbing house guest you’ve ever had. It’s about living a high quality life, and still choosing the narrow road of humility. The Cost of Discipleship is about how we’re supposed to live after Jesus comes in, loves us, cleanses us, and then says, “Let’s go!”
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters in all technicality is an apologetic novel. C.S. Lewis writes as the character of a demon. This demon is advising his demon nephew, Wormwood, in a series of letters on the family business of trying to thwart God and all His people. It is incredibly and truly eye-opening. In most of modern Christian literature you find that most writers want to politely steer away from talking about the devil, demons, and spiritual warfare. But it’s all real. This book faces the Christian’s battle straight on: we must fight against becoming lukewarm, because God is not delighted in half-hearted surrender and the devil wants to attack you when you’re already on the fence. That’s not to say that you won’t experience warfare when you’re dedicated and on fire for Christ – but when you’re on fire instead of having a lukewarm soul, you’ll be able to use your armor to fight. The Screwtape Letters, if you can understand C.S. Lewis’ nuggets of truth along with his sense of humor, might just change your whole spiritual perspective. You’ll recall how much God loves us and how much the devil hates it when we love Him back no matter the cost.
These books inspired me to stay on fire for Jesus. Friends, stick to what you know should be black and white and never grey. He knows that your journey will be hard and joyful. Remember that obedience – even when we can’t see what’s coming – is one of the strongest marks of a Christian. Don’t back down. He’s got us.
I have still five more of my favorite reads to share with you in Part Three! Come back soon!
What books have challenged your worldview and walk with God lately? I’m always looking for more suggestions and would love to hear about them!
Emilee Clemons? She’s a hot mess and a sinner, dearly loved and made into a new creation by Christ alone. She’s a lover of rainy days, thick books, the Greek language, and classic movies. Her not-so-guilty-pleasures include Netflix marathons and dance parties along with one of her eclectic playlists. You’ll find pieces of her heart in countless cities and villages all over the globe. She believes in the power of prayer, a strong cup of coffee, authenticity, and long handwritten letters. Emilee’s prayer is that she would manifest God’s grace in her life and in everything she creates.