Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review - "The Hole in our Holiness"

Product DetailsBefore I begin my review of this super great book - I need to say something, and I need every reader to hear it. My purpose in doing a review of this book is only to encourage and prompt any fellow believer in their growth and walk with the Lord, or, for anyone still seeking... to see the connection between holiness in your personal life and serving a holy God. It is in no way my intention to review Kevin DeYoung or to criticize or even argue his points for or against {although I can tell you I thoroughly enjoy his writing!}. After going through a difficult and trying time in ministry here recently,  my whole outlook on these "reviews" has changed. While I'm at it... let me clearly state the opinion that we MUST be careful when reading, reviewing and judging other peoples written word, especially as we don't always know the whole story or see the whole picture or even... {gasp} KNOW the author.

{slowly pushes soap box back into corner}

And now we begin :)

The whole premise for this book is "Why?". Why is it that holiness is no longer a chart topper need for believers? And when did it become almost taboo in some Christian circles to talk about or practice holiness? I so enjoyed DeYoung's opening description of one of the "why's" -

"Related to this first reason is the fear that a passion for holiness makes you some kind of weird holdover from a bygone era. As soon as you share your concern about swearing or about avoiding certain movies or about modesty or sexual purity or self-control or just plain godliness, people look at you like you have a moralistic dab of cream cheese on your face from the 1950's." 

Ha! How true I have found this to be even now, in 2013. DeYoung refers to our "culture of cool" among believers. How we are so good at making things "cool" and "appealing" and pushing the boundaries in our "freedoms". This comment was followed by -

"in an effort to be hip, many Christians have figured holiness has nothing to do with these things. They've willingly embraced Christian freedom but without an equal pursuit of Christian virtue." 

This one jabbed me and I think I said AMEN out loud. At least, I wrote it in all caps in my book :) How true is that?! I know even in my own life I can get wrapped up in my freedoms and forget the virtue. I forget that the ULTIMATE calling is to be a Christ imitator above all things. Love my Jesus and live like Him. Chapter one ended with the greatest sentences:

"There is a gap between our love for the gospel and our love for godliness. This must change. It's not pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism to take holiness seriously. It's the way of all those who have been called to a holy calling by a holy God."

And that, my friends... is the way to start a good book.

A big section of the book covers the topic of entertainment, and to be honest with you, I think it was my favorite part. As a believer something I am constantly wondering is "is this ok?" and feeling like the only one who is slightly uncomfortable. Like I'm all uptight. You know when you are a teen and dating and that question "how far is too far?" - well, that's where I have been so many times. Of course the answer is - how far from sin can we be?! And not how close to sin can we get. I appreciated DeYoung's view on entertainment and it's been a great help in how I view mine and other believers choices.

"I have to be careful (with movies in particular) that I don't assume my pangs of conscience mean everyone else tuned in is committing sin. But when my conscience is pricked I should not continue watching. A tender conscience is a terrible thing to waste."

"..I wonder if after most of our entertainment we could sincerely get down on our knees and say, "Thank you, God, for this good gift." Something to think about."

What an awesome and convicting thought. The shows where the wives bash and belittle their husbands - can I really be thankful for that? Usually not. Movies where the entire theme is based on sex outside of marriage {or even in marriage} -  is that helpful? Is it praiseworthy? Or, does it leave me longing for something harmful, unrealistic, or sinful? These are the thoughts I'm filtering with each thing I watch now. While I'm not here to judge or condemn anyone {I sin just as well as anyone...} I do think it's good to challenge each other. What are we filling our homes with?! What kinds of things stay on my brain long after the tv is turned off? What am I laughing at? It's so VITAL that we stop and think of the transformation that should be happening. Are we conforming or transforming to look like Christ?

"And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." 2 Cor. 3:18

The book ends {and there are literally so many other awesome thoughts in the middle chapters} with such encouragement for us! I really enjoyed the chapter titled "Be Who you are" - in regards to being in union with Christ. What a gift!

"Union with Christ fundamentally and irrevocably changes our relationship to sin. Our old self has been crucified {Rom. 6:6}, and sin has no dominion over us {vs. 14}. 

"Sin may get in some good jabs. It may clean your clock once in a while. It may bring you to your knees. But if you are in Christ it will never knock you out."

Just like the audience in Romans chapter 6 the same promise is for us today!

"Their identity, and yours, has been altered. You play for a different team. You live in a different realm. You go by a different name. Therefore, do no let sin reign in your mortal body {vs. 12} Don't present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness. Instead, offer yourselves to God as slaves to righteousness, leading to sanctification {vs. 19}."

It's Saturday and the temptation to live for self is so present. I'm tired and a momma and wife and there are a million things to always get done. I've been so thankful for this excellent read which challenged me in many ways! Grace is wonderful and what a mighty, loving, God we serve.

1 comment:

becky said...

your review wants me want to read the book even more..thank you.