Monday, August 6, 2012

The One Devotion Book I Recommend Above All Others

I'm not fond of devotion books.  I see most of them a "Christian lite", little bite size chunks that stay very superficial, are so chocked full of the authors interpretation that it actually discourages the Holy Spirit's intervention and, for the most part, just make us feel good because somehow that little five minute reading counts as our "God time" for the day.

That's not to say they are all bad.  I reviewed  A Year with Jesus by R. P. Nettelhorst on this blog a while back and loved it.  But there is one devotion book that has made such an impact on me that I felt like it would be a shame not to write about it.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers is making a huge impact on me.  It was one of those things where in your reading of other authors you see the book mentioned over and over and eventually you just have to go hunt the book down and see what all the hoopla is about for yourself.  

At first, I was a little off put by it.  I'm not a huge fan of reading the Christian classics because, honestly, if Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, why not read today's contemporary Christian literature instead of fighting through archaic prose and endless Old King James bible verses?  

I'm almost two months into it, though, and the impact it is making on me is huge.  I've been thinking for a few weeks about what it is that is grabbing me so much about this devotion book and not the thousands of others out there floating around.  This morning, I finally decided what it was that grabs me about it.  It is maturing me as a Christian.

So many devotion books focus on keeping our mind on Christ in our daily lives, assuming that you are having trouble doing that.  This book takes you to the next level.  It's prose encourages us to think a little deeper about the impact of God's Word on our lives.  It roots out the immature beliefs of Christianity and pulls them in line with a more biblical theology.  And all this while still remaining relevant to who we are and what are struggles may be.

For example, this morning's reading asked the question, "Have you reached such an intimacy with God that the Lord Jesus Christ's life of prayer is the only explanation of your life of prayer?".  How much in today's contemporary Christian literature asks such blunt, mature questions of the reader?  It's not that the question is complex or that it is intellectually "deep", but it requires a maturing of thought to even understand what the question is getting at.  It requires a maturing of faith.  Most importantly, it requires a maturing of your view of Christ and yourself.

One of the biggest issues I see in the church today are believers that never make it past the infancy stage in their walk with Christ.  Apparently, it was a problem in the first century church as well. The writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 5:12-6:1, "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.  Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity."  I thought all along I was consuming "solid food" in my studies, but My Utmost for His Highest has shown me that my mind hasn't even begun to wrap itself around the "solid food" of Christianity.  Few things have spurred me along in my Christian walk more than this book.

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