We feel it when we wake up with pains within our body. We see it when we watch a loved one pass away. We understand the depths of it when we feel lonely and out of place. None of that, however, can compare to the idea of choosing to let that forbidden fruit marinate within your soul and become such a familiar taste that you lose the ability to spit it out, but instead, crave more.
What do I mean by that? Well, this goes hand in hand with my last post – How Quiet Time Leaves Our Souls Thirsty. How can we live in this fallen world, see its destruction, understand that we are in a war, yet don’t see the brokenness that Christianity is quickly turning into? We are able to call out the splinters in the world’s eye, but can’t even begin to notice the plank in ours.
From The Beginning
Eve ate of a fruit that God marked as off limits. Why? Because Satan took the word of God and changed it ever so slightly so that it didn’t seem like a sin to her. (And we can act like we would have done things differently, but I know my track record, and I will always be the first to say “Me too, sister”) Satan took an object, that in and of itself wasn’t bad (fruit isn’t bad), but the act of following his promptings instead of God’s holy given word was where things went downhill.
So, how do we currently do this? I am going to talk about the books we allow to seep into our minds, bones and souls. The ones we allow to become our guiding light instead of God’s word.
Where We are Falling Short
God gifts people in so many different ways. Always for a specific purpose, and sometimes the equipment you are given is for a predetermined amount of time. How you use that gifting is where all of this comes into play. Are you using it for your own glory? Are you building a kingdom, but not The Kingdom? Are you becoming popular, while Heaven’s population is taking a hit?
Authors are gifted. I think we can all agree on that. If you can keep someone interested for 100-300 pages, then you have a talent. If you are a Christian, then you have a duty to use that talent to bring glory to God. This is a statement that steps on MANY toes. Many will come back and say that nonbelievers are incredible writers as well, and they don’t have to glorify God.
To that, I say, you’re very right! J. K. Rowling is not a Christian, but she is one of the world’s greatest authors. She created characters that grabbed our hearts and never let go, but, everyone uses their giftings for a god. Her’s could be money, herself, her family, or something completely different. I couldn’t tell you the exact answer because I don’t know her, but the fact that no matter what, we are a slave to some god means her books were for her god.
Here’s Where it Get’s Good
Now, some others will say that just because you are a believer doesn’t mean you have to write about God. It doesn’t mean you can’t write a book to the mother who feels like she is all alone while being surrounded by people. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to write a series of fictional books for people to get lost in. To this, I say, true. There are plenty of examples of those. C. S. Lewis is by far one of the greatest examples of this, but he also had God in the beginning, middle and end of his writings. Maybe not by name, but in spirit. The difference with his books and many others, is he wasn’t waiving those under the banner of Christian Life Books. They were just fun.
Nowadays, we are all looking for answers. We want the process to be explained. We want the road to be laid out clearly for us and we want someone to tell us that we can make it from point A to point C without getting lost somewhere in between. The problem is this:
More and more books today are being presented as Christian, and they are actually a tool that Satan is using to pull you further away from God.
Grab Your Floaties
I’m about to make some waves in your pond, so prepare yourself. This is not coming from a place of loathing, or disdain for these people. It’s not coming from a place of desiring to hurt people. It’s coming from a place of seeing so many people (women especially) falling into this trap and not even noticing, because these fruits are so sweet, and we are so adapted to their taste, that spitting it out almost seems like a sin. I’m here to tell you – it’s not.
More and more books are covering the Christian book aisles, but they are barely worth the read. Some have a few things here and there that are good for you to read, or understand, but as a whole, not worth it. If anything is claiming to be a Christian book, or are wanting to help a Christian in a certain area of life, yet all it does is makes you feel like you are capable of anything, that you can do it or that you are enough, it is bogus. If they never point you back to Jesus (and one mention of His name throughout the entire 200+ pages doesn’t count), then that is not a book written for God, therefore, that is not a book you should give time to.
Can I Be Real for a Moment?
“For the Love“. “Girl, Wash Your Face“. “Captivating“. “Jesus Calling“. “Your Best Life Now“. “I Kissed Dating Goodbye“. “Unqualified“.
These are not even scratching the surface of books that would fall under this category. Now, let me point out, some of these authors have some incredible material from their early years, but whether fame, fortune, bad guidance, or lack of prayer got in their way, their paths changed and are now no longer works meant to glorify God in the process of encouraging or speaking truth to His children.
Why in the world would I say that about these books? If “I”, “You”, or “We” are mentioned more in the process of getting through something, or as a way to cope with something, or during an encouraging point in the book, more than Jesus or God’s name is mentioned, then it’s not a book about Christ. It’s a book that they want you to feel good after and believe that they are the ones helping you get through this, so that you will then go and buy more of their books/messages. How is that godly?
Let Go, and Let God
If you cling so tightly to these books or devotionals that barely even represent God and His word, then you may want to think about packing all of your books away for a couple of months and only read the Bible. Things will become clear. You’ll start to see that it’s not about you. Nothing about this walk in Christ is about you. From the moment we needed a Savior, we were no longer enough. We were no longer beings that God could look upon with only joy and love.
The truth is, He can’t look upon us without the covering of Jesus. He literally sees Jesus. And you know what? I’m thankful for that. I’d rather Him look at me and see Jesus, than not look at me at all. If He looked away from His own holy Son when He took on the sin of the world, what makes you think you are any different?
That’s the thing with all of these books. They make it centered around you. They make it appear as though if you just do 1, 2 & 3, then you will finally feel accepted and be fully loved, but when that wears off, don’t worry, they have a second book for you to read that will say the same things, but in a different order and in different words, and contain Jesus even less.
Stand Up for the Change
If you are appalled at the fact that the Christian life isn’t about you, then you have much growing to do, and I can guarantee that growing isn’t going to come from the Christian self-help book section. It only comes from spending time in the Bible. Teaching yourself how to study it (check out my other post to help you learn ways!) and spending time learning of Who God is.
Not how the Bible relates to you, but how Jesus is in every page. Old Testament and New Testament. If you aren’t sure what that even looks like, I highly recommend reading the quick little read “Women of the Word” by Jen Wilkin. She clearly lays out our warped thinking of bible study/quiet time and then helps you understand how and where it needs to change. I promise you will be all the better for reading it, something I can’t say about any of the other mentioned books.