Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Review: You Can Change

You Can Change. Tim Chester. 2010. Crossway. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: What would you like to change?

Premise/plot: Is Tim Chester's book your typical self-help book? Far from it. It approaches change not from a self empowerment perspective but from a Spirit empowered one! In other words while he encourages you to focus on where you personally want to change, it is very much a book about the sanctification process. It explores essential Christian ideas: sin, temptation, repentance, holiness, etc.

My thoughts: I really thought this was well written. It is plainly and clearly written. It takes theological doctrines and presents them practically. Chester approaches the subject honestly and not condescendingly. If I had to sum this one up I'd say it was about humility and holiness.

Favorite quotes:
Jesus isn't just good for us--he is good itself. He defines good. (15)
Sin is living life my way, for me, instead of living life God's way, for God. (25)
We need to repent of trying to be our own savior. (25)
You will cleanse no sin from your life that you have not first recognized as being pardoned through the cross (28)
Sin doesn't love us. It tries to use us, abuse us, enslave us, control us, and ultimately destroy us. Sin takes from us and gives nothing in return. (33)
We become Christians by faith in Jesus, we stay Christians by faith in Christ, and we grow as Christians by faith in Jesus. (44)
Sin is wanting to live our lives our own way without God. The terrible irony is that we even want to overcome sin our own way without God. (45)
I used to think sanctification was a bit like pushing a boulder up a hill. It was hard, slow work, and if you lost your concentration you might find yourself back at the bottom. But it's more like a boulder rolling down a hill. There's something inevitable about it, because it's God's work, and God always succeeds. The sad thing is that often I try to push the boulder back up the hill. (55)
Every time we don't trust God's word we're believing something else, and that something is always a lie. (74)
The problems lie in the gap between what we believe in theory and what we believe in practice. (75)
Freedom is found in the truth that we were made to worship God, to serve God, to trust God. Freedom is found in acknowledging that we are responsible for the mess we have made of our lives, that our problems are rooted in our hearts, that we deserve God's judgment, that we desperately need God. Freedom is found in accepting that God is in control of our lives, that he is gracious, that he forgives those who come to him in faith. (77)
God is great--so we do not have to be in control. God is glorious--so we do not have to fear others. God is good--so we do not have to look elsewhere. God is gracious--so we do not have to prove ourselves. (80)
Every joy we experience is but a shadow of the source of all joy, which is God. (85)
A sinful desire is a desire that is bigger than God. (103)
Sin is fundamentally an orientation toward self. Repentance is reorienting ourselves toward God. (106)
Humility is the realization that we can never merit blessing from God. It's the recognition that grace is our only hope. (118)
Sin is like mold: it grows best in the dark. (124)
A changing life is a cross-centered life. (127)
The cross leaves no scope for human boasting. (127)
God has given us the Christian community not as a substitute for Christ but as a pointer to Christ. (158)
Love without truth is like doing heart surgery with a wet fish. But truth without love is like doing heart surgery with a hammer. We will speak the truth effectively only in the context of loving relationships. (158)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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