Moody wrote this book for people who are tired or disappointed in their Christian walk. He wants us to rethink our walk and where we want to go. The idea is to use the book as a spiritual tune-up. He explores the seven “follow me” statements Jesus made in Matthew.
This book did not turn out to be what I had expected based on the title. The book is very informative but it did not encourage me to change my life. Moody gave me a great deal of information but did not provide the encouragement to nor the practical means of changing my spiritual life.
Moody does a good job of describing what our Christian life could be if we really followed Jesus. “Work can be done for the Lord,” he writes, “as the Bible teaches: in fact, work should be done for the Lord.” But we are not invited to do so nor are we given suggestions to see that happen. In the section on freedom, he writes, “In Christ, and by his Spirit, we have the freedom to break those habits...” Yet we are never given practical suggestions to have it happen. “One of the reasons why so much of our Christian faith feels so limp is because we are not called upon to be faithful to death.” Moody never asks that of us in this book either.
An issue I have with the subject of the book concerns what it really means to follow Jesus. “Discipleship is fundamentally about following Jesus...,” Moody writes. “Discipleship is responding to Jesus' call, 'Come, follow me,' with a yes and then actually following him.” It means to stop what we were doing and start doing what he is doing. Unless I am mistaken, Jesus is sitting on the right hand of the Father. Moody does mention following Jesus' example of actions while he was on earth, such as eating with sinners. But how can we possibly do what Jesus is doing now?
And what about the rest of the New Testament? What about instructions from Paul and Peter and John and James on living the Christian life? Can we really be disciples without paying attention to the rest of the teaching in the New Testament?
Moody writes, “If only we could find the thrill again of who Jesus is and what he can do with us and through us...” I really thought that was the idea of reading this book.
Moody uses many illustrations from and makes allusions to movies, music, television programs, Narnia, and the military. This book might be better suited to a younger audience familiar with contemporary movies and music than this senior citizen who is not.
This is a book about following Jesus not really a passionate invitation to do so. There is a good description in the book as to what a revitalized Christian life looks like. Readers will just have to find their own motivation to change and practical suggestions as to how to do it.
I recommend this book to readers who would like an intellectual exploration of what a true Christian faith walk might look like.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois.
Abingdon, 256 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.