52 Books Monday!
Welcome to our first 52 Books Challenge Monday. Every Monday throughout the year, we’ll have a different author guest posting to tell us a bit about him or herself and their latest book. Though I’m a fiction writer, non-fiction is vital to our reading regiment. Our first author this year is Chris Lautsbaugh, author of Death of the Modern Superhero, How Grace Breaks our Rules. Do you struggle with your faith? Do you try to be a Super Christian? Chris’ book will break the “rules” you’ve placed on your life and show you how grace can set you free…again.
I’ll let Chris take it from here…
If you are reading this, it is likely you have taken up Ron Estrada’s challenge to read 52 books in 52 weeks this year.
The question is, Why?
Is it to improve your knowledge? Maybe.
To force yourself through the power of peer pressure to be accountable and read more? Perhaps.
Or, if you are wanting to focus on some Christian books, is it so you will grow in your Christian walk?
If this is the reason, are you hoping to do your part so God will bless you?
Are you hoping if you read more, God will love you more, resulting in your being used by Him more?
Will this make you a more spiritual person?
This might seem like a bit of a stretch.
Do people really believe God loves them more if they read more books?
Consider all the other ways we do this in our lives….
If we serve in church ministries.
If we pray and read our Bibles on a regular basis.
If we give money to foreign missions or to teams engaging in social justice activities.
Then we can have an “in” with God and our prayers will get shuffled to the top of the stack.
But we don’t want to do good things with the wrong motives.
If we do, we are modern-day Pharisees.
Every religious act the Pharisees performed could have a Scripture verse attached to it.
In short, we often attempt to improve our standing with God by the things we do. We try to be a superhero.
This is the premise of my book, Death of the Modern SuperHero: How Grace Breaks our Rules.
Our society tells us the way to success is by being bigger, better, faster, and stronger. Life drills this into us from the moment we are born. We push to succeed in school, sports, and climb the corporate ladder.
This belief works its way into our faith as well, resulting very subtly, in a works-based faith.
I must be a better Christian.
I can work more at being a good father.
I must serve my spouse more.
I really should volunteer more at my churches outreach program.
If I give a bit more money, I may be blessed more in return.
Notice the repeated pronoun.
If we focus our efforts on ourselves, it turns into a dead work and we are attempting to be superheroes. I can make myself be bigger, better, faster, or stronger.
While this may work for a season, or result in some growth; we know all to well that left to our own devices we will fail.
Anyone remember their New Year’s Resolutions from last year? Come March of this year, our 52 book challenge will be on the scrap heap of failed hopes if we attempt it all in our own strength.
Rather, we need to focus our attention on Christ, doing these things not as requirements but as a response to what He has already done.
So please, Read.
But lets keep the focus on Christ, and not on ourselves.
If we do, we will grow. This is a perk.
If we do, we will improve in our knowledge and our discipline.
And perhaps most importantly, if we miss a week, we won’t feel condemned or a failure. We will get back up and read again. Because this is not a “have to”, it is a “want to.”
So what if we read 15, 32, or 51 books this year? As a Christian, our eyes our on Christ.
This mentality will allow us to read more without the guilt and condemnation of disappointing God or ourselves.
So, lets take the challenge. But let’s do it with our eyes in the right place.