Over this past weekend I was in Barnes and Noble where I study and do my homework most often. I took my break like I usually do and walk around the store browsing books. I went to the christian section of the store to checkout what books they had. I saw this book by my now new favorite author I was tempted to buy this book around the same time I bought his recently new book a week before “Its Not What You Think” it’s a great book I recommend it. I’m going to still do a blog post on it when I finish it so still be looking forward to that. But I was staring at this book again and finally I gave into the temptation to buy it. I’m glad I gave into my temptation, because even though he wrote this book two years back what he says in this book is exactly what I believed I needed to get reminded of about being a person who lives for Jesus Christ. Even though I’m halfway through the book. I just have to post today about some things Bethke mentions. I’m only halfway through the book by the way amazing stuff! Spoilers down below don’t read any further if you’re already planning on reading the book, jump straight to the final sayings section.
What Bethke Mentions In His Book
- We aren’t christian because of safety.
- We are not save by what we do.
- We as christians need to know who our enemy really is.
We Aren’t Christian Because of Safety
In the beginning pages of Bethke’s book he talks about when he was learning how to be an actual follower of Jesus and in the middle of his process he realized that he was following the “wrong Jesus” the I like to call “Americanized Jesus”. He realized this when he was listening to a christian radio station and at their break according to Bethke, “they did a fifteen-second spot about the station that consisted of kids laughing, happy music, and the slogan, “Music you can trust, because it’s safe for the whole family!”” He thought is Jesus really safe for the whole family? He continued in his book saying that Jesus was a man who was homeless, persecuted and killed because he said he was God. Paul says if we follow Jesus’ example we would go through similar things from the world. We traded the real Jesus for this “Americanized Jesus” who is safer and sanitized. Bethke says in his book if we would of have this “Americanized Jesus” we created in the world today he would of never got persecuted because he is too nice. If we spread the real Jesus, the gospel he told us to tell the people of the world it will get dangerous, because we are going to create tension with people. People will disagree with Jesus’ view.
We Are Not Save by What We Do
In his book he also says that we have made following Jesus all about following a set of rules, rituals and paradigms. Bethke explains in his book two ways that we as christians sometimes believe we are saved by works. He first starts off saying that just because we go feed the homeless once a year, don’t drink beer, and have no tattoos this doesn’t determine our salvation. He then more pages into the book describes a story about a time he talked to one of his teammates. Explaining how this teammate was the one who always spoke loudly about God but was always the one bragging about how many girls he had and when Bethke confronts him on his hypocrisy. His teammate explained he was saved and was okay because he did the prayer with his hands when he was young, basically explaining he was saved because of what he had done. Behtke explains in his book that these two ways are the wrong way to think about salvation. The first way is wrong because we are not just saved by what we do, nothing we can do can give us salvation. He explains that in Isaiah 64:6 explains to us that our deeds that we think are right are as filthy rags, he explains that filthy rags back then was the rags a women used during their menstruation period. Our deeds that we think are good are used tampons. So how can our works give us our salvation if even our greatest are just as bad as a used tampon it can’t. Only through the grace of Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross that is what resulted in the salvation we as christians have today. Also the second false way of thinking about salvation some christians believe. Is just because we did something good in the past does not determine that we have a free ride for the rest of our live. Just because I prayed the prayer way back when I was thirteen does not mean that I have a free pass to do what ever I want. Yes we are saved by grace, but lets not get that confused. Imagine this Bethke gives this example in his book, is the husband able to go around and cheat on his wife just because they made the commitment and got married the year before, no. When we make the commitment to get saved and allow Jesus to be in our lives, our lives should show more of a reflection of him if we truly serve him.
We as Christians Need to Know who our Enemy Really is
Bethke in his book explains that the way some of us christians treat people who is not living according to our standards are being hated by our community. How some of us say that God hates these people for example some christians in the community would say God hates gays. Bethke explains no where in the bible God says he hate gays, he love gays, but he does not love their actions. Just like us christians at times he loves us, but when we sin he does not love our actions. Bethke clarifies that he is not saying to not take sin seriously. He is saying to definitely take sin seriously and that we should avoid sin. He says that one of the main problems is idolatry. Which Bethke explains that it is putting anything above Jesus Christ. He explains when we idolize things we usually “demonize” what is in opposition of the thing we idolize. He gives an example democrats vs republican, if you idolize democrats then you believe that the republicans is the enemy and demonize them. If you idolize republicans then you believe the democrats is the enemy and demonize them. If you idolize your self righteousness then you would think anybody who is not held up to your standards is your enemy and demonize them. He explains that the only thing we should idolize is Jesus because what is against Jesus demons and it makes sense to demonize demons. He explains when we idolize Jesus we see sin as our enemy and not the people who commit the sin. We should tell them to avoid the sins they are doing but we should not demonize them, we should not think of them as our enemy. For Jesus himself ate and sat with sinners.
I would really recommend this book for what Jefferson Bethke writes in here is really eye opening. Even if you already know about the topics he writes about in his book you should still pick it up and read it. It’s always good to get reminded of what being a true follower of Christ means. Also this review is only less than half of the book! Think about the rest of it!