Holleman was reading Psalm 97:10 and wondered what it meant that God guards the hearts of His faithful ones. She decided to find out.
I appreciate Holleman's emphasis on God guarding us on the inside (as opposed to physical safety). Christ dwells in our inner being by the Holy Spirit and imparts all the characteristics of God's guarding presence to our soul. This reality made her want to learn a different way to be, to live from her inner being.
Her emphasis is on what is happening in the soul (not the spirit). That is where we run our lives and that is where Jesus dwells, she writes. This teaching is new to me as I always considered Jesus in me was a spiritual connection, that He dwelt in the spirit part of me, not the soul. I am not clear if Holleman considers the soul/spirit to be one aspect of our humanity or not.
Holleman knows that we humans tend to forget so she developed a method to remember the guarding. She pictured a towering medieval fortress to help her recall the truth. A catapult (confidence) and window (hope) reminded her of more truth. A moat represented the peace from the guarding presence of the Spirit. Some may question the use of imagery but David had the same idea when he spoke of God as his rock of refuge to which he could always go. (Ps. 71:3)
In addition to the memory technique ideas, Holleman has included great biblical teaching on the aspects of being guarded. I really liked her thoughts on living the crucified life in the power of the Holy Spirit. She has added questions at the end of each chapter for further thought and discussion.
This book is worth serious reading and intense thought. Holleman has a morning routine of proclaiming the truth that she was dwelling in Christ's peace, meditating on Scriptures and picturing the fortress. She found more peace and was no longer ruled by her anxious mind. Shifting her attention to her inner being where Jesus dwells helped her to have a good foundation for choices and living in general.
Food for thought: “We are dwelling in Him, and nothing can touch our souls in that most marvelous secret place.”
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Heather Holleman has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Michigan. She teaches college writing at Penn State. She serves on the staff of Cru and is taking seminary classes in the summers. She is married and has two daughters. You can find out more about her at http://heatherholleman.com/books/guarded-with-christ/.
Moody Press, 192 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.