Self-Care: Heart Checkup for Your Soul (part 1)

self careSELF-CARE: The best self-care is a heart checkup.

In part one of this 3-part series, you’ll discover…

  1. Why you may bristle at the word “self-care.”
  2. A definition of heart checkup.

Self-Care Hangup?

Self-care may sound…extravagant, even selfish. But for some of up — my old me! — I didn’t think I deserved self-care. Then I dared to ask myself, What’s my hangup?

Also I considered that Jesus took time to rest, didn’t he? He got away to the mountains and rejuvenated. He hung out with the broken people and lunched. I can imagine him smiling and laughing and cracking jokes.

And I asked myself, Am I denying the reality of my own humanity when I think I’m too busy to watch birds flit about my neighbor’s feeder? Or take time for a walk?

Could I reek with. . .twisted pride?

Reminder: The self-care of rest, exercise, meaningful work, eating well (and, for me, chocolate too!) isn’t selfish when your self-care is “onto the Lord.”

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

But divorced from a Godward focus, self-care can be selfish, wouldn’t you agree? Your motivation matters.

Heart Checkup

Most people think the heart is the emotional part of a person. Scripture suggests that it is your mind, emotions, and will. It is the center of your being. You can compare it to a control center. Your heart controls what you think, feel, say, and do.

Proverbs 4:23 says it well:

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

Everything.

But there’s bad news. The Bible says your heart “tricks or deceives us into thinking that our desires are pure, that we want what we want because it is good and God approves,” writes Elyse Fitzpatrick, biblical counselor and author.

And this is why you need a heart checkup.

During the check up you’ll see whether your thoughts align with God’s thoughts. Also, you’ll find out if your actions and emotions are rotten or good.

By the way, in the counseling office, we focus on the heart. And when the counselee’s heart changes so does her life. But the goal isn’t life transformation per se; it is growth in Christlikeness.

3 Parts of the Heart

As mentioned, “heart” is the word the Bible uses for your mind and your emotions and your will altogether. Your mind, emotions, and will influence one another. Let’s look at the parts of the heart.

Your mind: Your mind involves your ability to understand, reason, and discern. It includes your beliefs and opinions.

Taken aback with news from angels about her son, Mary the mother of Jesus “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
The power of God’s word “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
As a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7, NLT).

Your emotions: You emotions include your moods as well as your longings, desires, and hopes.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation (Psalm 13:5).
If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts. . . (James 3:14).

Your will: Your will is the part of your inner person that chooses what actions to take. Your mind and emotions inform your will what to do.

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15).
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth (2 Corinthians 12:6)

I pray this three-part series helps you understand why your do what you do, so that you can choose God’s best always. Next time will focus on your emotions and thoughts. If you haven’t signed up for my blog and complimentary eBook, please do. Then you’ll get parts 2 and 3 delivered to your inbox.

God bless you as we grow together.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

Stop Food Cravings and Glorify God

food cravingsFood cravings come on quick and strong, don’t they? You’re driving along singing to KLOVE or whataver, and out of nowhere food cravings strike.You may crave a Snickers bar or chips or ice cream or a Ding Dong. Perhaps you crave strawberries, carrots, or freshly baked multi-grain bread.

Up the road sits a 7-Eleven, beckoning.

In this short article, let’s look at…

  1. Biological food cravings versus emotional food cravings
  2. A biblical solution to food cravings

Choose Your Choice 

So what should you do when hit by food cravings?

A. Try your very, very best to ignore them.

B. Proceed to the 7-Eleven and get the goodies..

Well, it depends! Biological food cravings differ from emotional food cravings. It’s wise to fill the biological kind because your body needs what is craves. Just think of how delicious a glass of water is when you are super thirsty. So when you fulfill this type of craving, you’ll think and feel better. But fight the temptation of emotional food cravings. If you cave, you’ll feel worse, and you’ll miss out on God’s best too.

So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Biological or Emotional?

Here’s a simple what to tell whether your food cravings are biological or emotional:

When you have a biological food craving and fulfill it, you feel nourished. And it doesn’t take much food to meet such a need either. One bagel, a wedge or two of low-fat cheese, or a couple of chocolates–that’s it.

In contrast, emotional food cravings aren’t about food. They are an attempt to meet a need apart from God. An emotional eater looks for comfort in food. Sometimes it follows “I’m a loser” self-talk. And a small treat is never enough. Never.

Emotional eaters confuse love and self-acceptance with food. It is their drug of choice. Their god.

Solution to Food Cravings

The good news is by obeying and trusitn God, your can have victory over food cravings.

To have victory, you’ll need to break the vicious cycle of emotional eating. You can make this break when you begin desiring what God desires and, with God’s help, change your heart. Your heart is the immaterial part of you where your motivations, beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and actions reside.

For life transformation you need heart transformation!

God’s life-changing power helps you embrace a right perspective of food, make good and godly food choices, straighten out your thinking on food, and practice, practice, practice. A great resource with helps for those times you mess up — and we all mess up sometimes — is Love to Eat, Hate to Eat by biblical counselor Elyse Fitzpatrick.

God wants you to live life based on truth, not emotions. The truth of who he is. The truth of who you are. His truth is sure. Our emotions go up and down like an elevator.

Now emotions are fine; God gave them to us. You and I must not trust them to influence our decisions. We need to turn to truth.

10 Tips for Healthy Choices

Here’s truth talk on healthy eating. You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating:

~ Choose water over coffee and soda pop.

~ Shrink your portions by using smaller plates.

~ If you desire seconds, go for the veggies.

~ Eat at least five vegetables and fruits daily.

~ Choose whole grains.

~ Limit your consumption of sugar.

~ Skip foods with ingredients you cannot pronounce.

~ Sit down during meals.

~ Eat slowly.

~ Remember eating becomes sacred when it becomes worship.

Remember the Bible verse I mentioned? So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Let this command guide your motivations and desires.

When you do, then everything — from washing dishes and sweeping floors to helping your children with homework and writing blog posts — can be worship. As long as you line up your thoughts with God’s, the simplest things become sacred.

And so it is with food.

For YOU!

Do my bring hope ot your heart? Then sign up for my blog and get a 64-page ebook delivered to your email.

Click here to sign up.

Thanks!

Sharing hope with your heart,

 

16 Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2016

booksBooks, books, and more books. Here are the top biblical counseling books of 2016, rounded up by guest writer Dr. Bob Kellemen. Enjoy!

If you are a counselor, pastor, student, one-another minister, small group leader, or spiritual friend, you want to know the most helpful books about the personal ministry of the Word— using God’s Word for helping hurting people.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the top 16 books published in 2016 about biblical counseling or important to biblical counselors.

I’ve selected these books on the basis of their biblical depth, relevance to life, practicality for one-another ministry, faithfulness to the sufficiency of Scripture, application to progressive sanctification, and by surveying what leaders in the biblical counseling world are saying about them.

1. Biblical Church Revitalization

Biblical Church Revitalization: Solutions for Dying and Divided Churches, by Brian Croft, Christian Focus

Biblical counseling is a discipleship ministry of the local church with a mission not simply to be a church with biblical counseling, but a church of biblical counseling. The biblical counseling vision is to saturate the entire congregation with confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture for daily life and ministry. Brian Croft shares that mission and vision. His book, Biblical Church Revitalization, is like engaging in a dozen biblical counseling sessions—for the whole congregation. Pastor Croft walks readers through the process of biblical church health—church progressive sanctification. Every church can benefit greatly from his wise biblical counsel for congregational renewal.

You can read a review of Biblical Church Revitalization by Erik Raymond here.

 2. Biblical Counseling Guide for Women

The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women, by John Street and Janie Street, Harvest House

As the modern biblical counseling movement has matured, its resources have progressed from foundational materials for general counseling issues to in-depth materials for specific counseling needs. The husband and wife team of John and Janie Street model this development in their book The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women. They use real-life vignettes, biblical wisdom, and counseling principles to address 17 relevant issues that women commonly face. The embedded discussion questions make this book valuable not only for individual use, but also for small group interaction.

You can read a review of The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women by Jenny Bergren here.

3. Counseling One Another

Counseling One Another: A Theology of Interpersonal Discipleship, by Paul Tautges, Shepherd Press

In Counseling One Another, Paul Tautges builds the theological underpinning for biblical counseling in a way that is both comprehensive and compassionate. This book demonstrates a staunch commitment to an expository, exegetical examination of counseling as presented in God’s Word. Any pastor or lay person wanting a foundational starting point for understanding Christ-centered, comprehensive, and compassionate biblical counseling in the local church would be wise to read and apply Counseling One Another.

You can read a review of Counseling One Another by Zack Ford here.

 4. Devoted to God

Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification, by Sinclair Ferguson, Banner of Truth

Glorifying God by becoming more like Christ is the heartbeat of biblical counseling. Sinclair Ferguson shares that passion. In Devoted to God, he offers a lifetime of biblical study as he exegetes 10 central biblical passages about progressive sanctification. His gospel-centered, relevant, practical, in-depth approach makes this an instant classic on the topic of growth in grace.

You can read a review of Devoted to God by Tim Challies here.

5. Discipling

Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus, by Mark Dever, Crossway

Mark Dever’s latest book, Discipling, is part of the Nine Marks Ministries series “Building Healthy Churches.” Like each book in the series, it is a succinct yet robust biblical exploration of local church ministry. Just as biblical counseling seeks to equip the entire congregation for one-another ministry, so Discipling aims to cultivate a discipleship mindset throughout the entire body of Christ. As the subtitle suggests, this book provides the how-to of congregational discipleship.

You can read a review of Discipling by Casey McCall here.

6. Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk

Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk: Why and How Christians Should Have Gay Friends, by Brad Hambrick, Cruciform Press

Brad Hambrick thinks deeply about complex life and ministry situations. That’s certainly the case in Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk. He notes that most conversations about same-sex attraction have become polemical and political rather than pastoral and personal. His desire in this book is to be a resource God uses to grow His people into excellent ambassadors—friends to their classmates, colleagues, and family members who experience same-sex attraction.

You can read a review of Do Ask, Do Tell by Sam Allberry here.

 7. The Dynamic Heart

The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience, by Jeremy Pierre, New Growth Press

A stereotype of the biblical counseling movement states that biblical counselors focus primarily on external behavior. Jeremy Pierre’s work, The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life, should put that perception to rest. Dr. Pierre presents a compassionate, comprehensive biblical understanding of people—image bearers who are spiritual, relational, social, rational, volitional, motivational, emotional, and physical beings. He examines every aspect of the heart in light of our coram Deo existence—we were designed as in-relationship-to-God beings. Pierre demonstrates how a biblical psychology (understanding of the soul) is essential for biblical counseling (bringing Christ’s redemptive hope to the whole person).

You can read a review of The Dynamic Heart by Theron St. John here.

 8. Good and Angry

Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness, by David Powlison, New Growth Press

David Powlison is a brilliant thinker. He also happens to be an extremely compassionate counselor. That combination is fully evidenced in Good and Angry. With winsome wisdom, Dr. Powlison enlightens us to the God-intended purpose of righteous anger and to Christ-redemptive hope for addressing unrighteous anger. This book is not just helpful for anger; it is a model for how we can take every aspect of our emotionality to the cross.

You can read a review of Good and Angry by Tim Challies here.

You can read a review of Good and Angry by Erik Raymond at The Gospel Coalition here.

9. Home 

Home: How Heaven and the New Earth Satisfy Our Deepest Longings, by Elyse Fitzpatrick, Bethany House

Penned by Elyse Fitzpatrick, Home is not a journey-to-heaven-and-back tell-all memoir. Thankfully. Instead, it is a long-for-heaven-and-live-for-earth biblical narrative. We often hear, “that person is so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good.” Home encourages us to be so heavenly minded that we are of great earthly good. Even more than that, it invites us to sample a small taste now of the eternal banquet of relational satisfaction we will experience when we are forever home with our heavenly Father.

You can read a review of Home by Aimee Byrd here.

 10. Marry Well, Marry Wisely

Marry Well, Marry Wisely: A Blueprint for Personal Preparation, by Ernie Baker, Shepherd Press

In Marry Well, Marry Wisely, Ernie Baker pens a pre-pre-martial manual. In doing so, he doesn’t simply equip us to answer the question, “How do I choose the right spouse?” More importantly, he prepares us to answer the heart question, “How do I become prepared to be the right spouse?” This blueprint establishes the firm groundwork of a Christ-centered and other-centered mindset that is essential for being a godly spouse.

You can read a review of Marry Well, Marry Wisely by Theron St. John here.

 11.  Parenting

 Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, by Paul Tripp, Crossway

Few things seem to drive us toward an external focus more than the challenges of parenting. Everything inside and around us screams, “Fix it fast!” In, Parenting, Paul Tripp directs us away from a “fix it” focus to a focus on love Him (God) and love your child (care for your child’s heart). Tripp moves us away from a works-based, pharisaical mindset to a grace-based, gospel attitude in our homes.

You can read a review of Parenting by Heidi Strawser here.

12. Theology of Biblical Counseling

A Theology of Biblical Counseling: The Doctrinal Foundations of Counseling Ministry, by Heath Lambert, Zondervan

Of all 16 books on this list, A Theology of Biblical Counseling by Heath Lambert is the most important book for those wanting to understand the doctrinal basis of biblical counseling. Lambert, the Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC), explains that “Counseling is a theological discipline” (p. 11). Lambert models that truth in each chapter, as doctrine comes to life in real ministry to real people—dramatically demonstrating how theology intersects with the lives of actual counselees.

You can read a review of A Theology of Biblical Counseling by David Dunham here.

13. Tying the Knot

Tying the Knot: A Premarital Guide to a Strong and Lasting Marriage, by Rob Green, New Growth Press

If Ernie Baker’s book (Marry Well, Marry Wisely) is a pre-pre-marital book, then Rob Green’s Tying the Knot covers the classical pre-marital topics. However, it does not cover them in the classical way—simply as relational skills to be mastered. Rather, this nine-session study directs couples through issues such as conflict, expectations, communication, finances, and intimacy—showing how couples can face each with Christ at the center of their marriage.

 You can read a review of Tying the Knot by Tim Challies here.

 14. The Vine Project

 The Vine Project: Shaping Your Ministry Culture Around Disciple-Making, by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne, Matthias Media

The Vine Project by co-authors Colin Marshall and Tony Payne is the sequel to The Trellis and the Vine. In the prequel, Marshall and Payne cast the vision for an Ephesians 4:11-16 view of pastors as equippers. In The Vine Project, they put feet to that vision by providing practical insight into the local church disciple-making process.

You can read a review of The Vine Project by Kevin Halloran here.

15. Visual Theology

Visual Theology: Seeing and Understanding the Truth About God, by Tim Challies and Josh Byers, Zondervan

As a long-time follower of Tim Challies’ blog, I enjoyed the foundational material that eventually developed into Visual Theology. In the able hands of Challies and Josh Byers, those blog posts translate extremely well into book form. Visual Theology is powerful because it aligns with how God communicates in His Word, how Christ taught people, and how God designed our minds to think—visually, with imagination, in pictures and images. Biblical counselors can learn much from this book about communicating truths not only in words, but also in images and illustrations, especially to this visually-oriented generation.

 You can read a review of Visual Theology by Aaron Armstrong here.

16. What Grieving People Wish You Knew

What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts), by Nancy Guthrie, Crossway

Nancy Guthrie is one of the foremost Christian writers on loss, grief, hope, and healing. What Grieving People Wish You Knew is the fruit of a lifetime of sharing the comfort she has received from Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). Her narrative reads like a biblical counseling training manual for gospel conversations for suffering. Pastors, counselors, and spiritual friends can all learn much from her biblically compassionate writing.

You can read a review of What Grieving People Wish You Knew by Rachel Hurst here.

Dr. Robert W. Kellemen, Th.M., Ph.D.: Bob is the Vice President for Institutional Development and Chair of the Biblical Counseling and Equipping Department at Crossroads Bible College, and the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries. Bob was the founding Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. For seventeen years he served as the founding Chairman of and Professor in the MA in Christian Counseling and Discipleship department at Capital Bible Seminary in Lanham, MD. He has pastored three churches and equipped biblical counselors in each church. Bob and his wife, Shirley, have been married for thirty-six years; they have two adult children, Josh and Marie, one daughter-in-law, Andi, and three granddaughters, Naomi, Penelope, and Phoebe. Dr. Kellemen is the author of thirteen books including Gospel-Centered Counseling.

Biblical Counseling Versus Christian Counseling

counseling

Is “biblical counseling” the same as “Christian counseling”?

Very often it’s not.

I’m going to share a short story of what I learned the hard way. I want to spare you unnecessary pain and confusion. Sound cool?

Before I made an appointment with a “Christian” counselor, I wish I had heard these words from Pastor John MacArthur: “Modern psychologies use hundreds of counseling models and techniques based aon a myriad of conflicting theories, so it is impossible to speak of psychotherapy as if it were a unified and consistent science.”

And this from Elyse Fitzpatrick:

Sadly, what Christian women need to know to live an abundant life is not found in many of today’s ‘Christian’ self-help books. Instead of guidance in knowing and pleasing God, which is the way to finding abundant life, we are given man-centered philosophies on how to love ourselves more, how to get more out of life, how to assert ourselves.

Our greatest need is being ignored.

What we need most of all is to know God.

I pray you’ll have more discernment than me when you decide to reach out for help. Would you like a great way to find profiles of excellent female biblical counselors who have been vetted? Check out my Heart2Heart Counselor Directory.

Finding a Counselor the Old Way

In my early 30s, I grabbed the phone book — Google had yet to come on the scene — and looked up “counseling,” searching for a Christian counselor. I figured he’d counsel by the Bible. Foolish me.

We prayed once in a while, but he also encouraged a crazy technique called transference. I became to depend on him for my happiness. I wanted his approval not God’s And every time I left the counseling office I felt worse, and my “counselor addiction” grew.

He said this transference meant I was healing. I was getting worse! He said to expect this as I got better emotionally. Are you shaking your head?

To make a long story short, for my emotional and spiritual health, I had to ditch this counselor. Quick. (It took my a year and I half to figure this out!)

God through the Word set me free. Good-bye, confusion. Years later I stumbled on true biblical counseling. What a difference!

Embracing the Best

Here’s the great definition of biblical counseling out there. It’s by Bob Kellermen.

If you ever need help, as I did, as we all do from time to time, contact me. Biblical e-counseling is effective and affordable. Most of my clients need eight visits or less (in person or by Skype).

Here is part of Bob’s definition. I made a few edits but kept the meaning fully intact.

Biblical counseling is not “beating people over the head with the Bible.”

Nor is it saying, “take two verses and call me in the morning.”

And it is not one-problem, one-verse, one-quick-solution.

Rather,

Biblical counseling depends upon the Holy Spirit

to relate God’s inspired truth

about people, problems, and solutions

to human suffering and sin

to empower people to exalt and enjoy God

and to love others

by cultivating conformity to Christ and communion with Christ

and the Body of Christ.

Question: Have you had a bad Christian counseling experience? Share in Comments, below.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

lucy-signature-blue

Because He Loves Me: Book Review

fitzpatrick

Marie Notcheva highly recommends Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life by Elyse Fitzpatrick. This gem articulates the gospel and encourages readers to live it every day. Marie is a featured Heart2Heart Counselor and writes a blog. Here article appeared first here on her website and is used with permission. 

heart

Elyse Fitzpatrick is who I want to be when I grow up.

Of course, I mean that completely in the Ephesians 4:15 sense of “grow up.” The ability to articulate the simple, profound truth of the Gospel and its implications for day-to-day life as beautifully as Elyse has in Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life speaks of a real spiritual maturity. Her passion, from the first page of this encouraging book, is for her reader to have the same joyful, settled assurance of Christ’s love that she herself has found in the pages of Scripture.

Whose Responsible for Your Spiritual Growth?

Why is it that so many of us recognize our need for the Gospel – the Person and work of Jesus Christ – for salvation; then slowly move past the Good News in our daily strivings to “please God”?

We come to the Cross for justification, but practically live as if sanctification depended solely on us. Elyse spots this tendency – which often leads to a moralistic, defeated attitude – and reminds the reader of the only antidote: applying the finished work of Christ to our continually sinning hearts.

Weaving the entire thread of Scripture around a central point – that God FIRST loved us – Elyse shows how getting this knowlege of His deep, abiding, personal, and unfathomable love for us down into the very marrow of our bones completely changes everything. In fact, it transforms our whole identity – who we reckon ourselves to be.

If we see ourselves as “foster children,” who can be evicted or abandoned at any moment, we will live like it. Realizing we are a permanent, cherished part of the family – His adopted children – transforms our hearts and enables us to live for Christ in His strength.

As she writes, “Any obedience that isn’t motivated by His great love is nothing more than penance” (page 148). Well said.

The Impact of the Gospel on You

How does the Gospel message impact our walk, 10, 20, even 30 years after our conversion, when we can rattle off the Doctrines of Grace like the days of the week?

If we don’t consciously live in the light of His love, the gospel will be secondary, virtually meaningless, and Jesus Christ will fade into insignificance. Our faith will become all about us, our performance, and how we think we’re doing, and our transformation will be hindered.

This tendency to take our eyes off of Him and focus inwardly on our failure becomes a vicious cycle, especially when one is battling a life-dominating sin. Many of you bear witness to this fact. I once received the following e-mail from a reader:

…I have been REALLY struggling again lately. I have trouble turning to God, because I feel sometimes like I don’t deserve His forgiveness, or to ask Him for help.

Lately I have been obsessing about food and eating all day long, and binging and purging A LOT! I work as a nanny, so I am alone with kids and in a house full of junk food I wouldn’t buy, and have found myself unable to keep from destructive eating behaviors.

Please pray for me that I will go back to Christ for guidance, and be able to truly repent for my sin. Please also pray that I will stop worshiping false idols of food and thinness, and instead live to glorify Him… (emphasis mine).

This young lady sincerely loves God and wants to please Him, but her words reveal that she has fallen into the trap so common to all of us: living as if our position before God is based on our own merit.

When did any of us, in our “best” moments, EVER “deserve” His forgiveness? We didn’t. Christ secured it for us – while we were still His enemies. We forget this. When we succeed, we feel good and can worship. Failure brings shame and a fear of approaching God, which naturally leads to more failure and despair. We are, as Elyse points out in this book, essentially not trusting God that He is as good as He says He is.

This is unbelief, and it leads to idols. When we don’t feel fully secure in our position in Christ – solely based on His righteousness and grace – we seek the satisfaction that should be found in Him alone through counterfeits. Putting our trust in these “earthly treasures” leads to fear, worry, and anxiety – which leads us ever further away from the Cross.

Freedom from fear comes from contemplating and remembering the love of God, manifested in Christ. As I have written before (and Elyse so much more articulately), change in our behavior can only come from truly realizing and appreciating who God is and what He has done for us. Knowing that His kindness is what has led us to repentance (Romans 2:4) motivates us to love Him back, and approach Him with confidence. Our ‘identity in Christ’ (as Elyse refers to it; I might use ‘position’) is permanent and irrevocable. It is what frees us up to walk in love.

Remembering God’s Love for You

In the final section of Because He Loves Me, Elyse demonstrates how remembering and contemplating this unfathomable love God has for us is the true motivation for lasting change. She writes,

Our natural unbelief will always cast doubt on His love for us. It is the awareness of His love and only this that will equip us to wage war against sin. Until we really grasp how much He loves us, we’ll never be able to imitate Him.

We won’t come near to Him if we’re afraid of His judgment. We won’t repent and keep pursuing godliness if we don’t believe that our sin doesn’t faze His love for us one bit. We won’t want to be like Him if we believe that His love is small, stingy, censorious, severe. And we’ll never be filled with His fullness until we begin to grasp the extent of His love (Eph. 3:19).

As a member of His family, you’re the apple of His eye, the child He loves to bless. You’re His darling.

“Every failure in sanctification is a failure in worship.”

Far from minimizing the seriousness of sin, Elyse reminds the reader how costly it was to God – and invites her to rest in this reality. At the same time, we are thus enabled to “wage a vicious war against sin” – the imperative (command) that naturally follows the indicative (what God has already declared to be true). Every sin, from greed to sexual immorality, is a failure to love as we’ve been loved – at its root, unbelief.

The key to walking in freedom and joy, then, is remembering that we’re beloved children, redeemed by Jesus, set free from the power of sin. This settled confidence produces thanksgiving ane edifying speech, rather than complaining and bitterness. This is what applying the Gospel to every area of our lives looks like in practice.

I have been recommending Because He Loves Me to women who write me about their specific struggles, as well as counselors and anyone else who would benefit from the reminder of what Christ’s perfect life, love, cross, resurrection, and intercession really mean to us as we grow in Him.

In short, everyone reading this would likely benefit from the encouraging and joyful explanation Elyse presents on the synergy of God’s grace and our response. Like C.J. Mahaney’s The Cross Centered Life, Because He Loves Me trains the reader to reflect more deeply on the finished work of Christ on her behalf as a catalyst to worship, rather than presenting sanctification as a spiritual self-help plan.

See more about this wonderful book here.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

lucy-signature-blue

Get this 64 page ebook FREE when you sign up for my blog!

 

5 AMAZING NAMES GOD CALLS YOU!

Blessed, Daughter, Saint, and more!

In this delightful, four-color ebook, you’ll discover the precious names God calls you. Today so many Christian women don’t fully know their wonderful identity in Christ. Isn’t a time to know yours? Filled with scripture, photography, personal stories, and encouragement!

You have Successfully Subscribed!