Thursday, April 30, 2015

Everyday Grace by Jessica Thompson

Thompson begins her book by saying we don't need another book on relationships and hers is going to be different. She desires to bring life to our souls, she says. She hopes this book will help us taste and see the love of God for us. This is a worthy goal.

I have mixed emotions about the book. I am not sure she delivered on her goal.

She reminds us of the problems with performance based relationships. Instead, she says, our relationships must be about Jesus. The Savior's love, she writes, “is the only thing that can change the way you relate to others.” We don't need to search for the perfect friend. We already have Him. “We must be enraptured with Jesus.” We are to let God's love fuel our love for others. “Our affections need to be fixed on, found in, rooted and grounded in the love of Christ.”

The theory in this book is that we are to be secure in our relationships to Jesus and the Father. We won't need anything from our relationships we have with others, she writes, because every longing to be loved and accepted has been completely filled in Christ. When we realize how much grace and love we have received, we can extend it to others.

But we continually forget how much we are loved. The command to love others as God has loved us is not just a nice saying. “It is meant to crush you.” It is meant to show us that we cannot love the way Christ has loved us. We need help. We need grace.

She is very free is sharing her own faults, her own experiences of falling short of what she suggests in the book. It is a little disconcerting to read about her fighting with her husband and going to bed angry. She writes about how we are to find our worth in Christ but then tells us how she doesn't. “Because we are sinful and we never really believe Jesus is enough,” she writes, “you and I will struggle with this for our entire earthly lives.”

Missing were encouraging stories of where the love of Jesus was shown by people because they knew they were themselves loved by Him. Those kinds of stories would have at leased balanced the many accounts of falling short.

We are given a great deal of theory in the book but I felt it was lacking in practical suggestions as to how to move forward. And she does give us advice on relationships, even though she said we didn't need another book with relational advice. I had high hopes when I began the book but it the end felt it was mediocre.

Jessica Thompson has a bachelor's degree in theology and is married with three children. She and her husband serve at Westview Church, an Acts 29 church plant in north San Diego County.

Bethany House Publishers, 208 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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