This book was requested as an advanced-review copy from NetGalley. I’ve not read anything by this author before, so I had no idea what to expect, but the cover and the title instantly drew me in.
The book is written as a series of devotions based around the sermon on the mount, and although I read this book in a few sittings, I think it would probably have benefited from being read more slowly to give me more time to absorb and ponder on what I was reading, so perhaps one in the morning and one in the evening would have been a good pattern to follow.
As I started reading, I started to highlight passages of the book that I wanted to remember, but as I got a few chapters in I realised I was highlighting probably around 70% of the book, so I quickly had to revise that plan, but the truth is that so much of what was written just hit the nail right on the head.
We Christians have probably all read the Sermon on the Mount before, but have we ever really stopped to consider “What if Jesus was serious?”?. In this book, the author breaks the sermon down into bitesize pieces and reflects on what those meant in the time that Jesus preached them, but also what they mean for us now in our modern context which looks nothing like the same.
And as a modern Christian, it may or may not be a shock to find that everything that Jesus said back then sure stands up now too, and if we could just think about what Jesus said and try to live it out, we could make a mighty change to our world.
We who claim to be Jesus’ followers and seek a life shaped by his Kingdom hold the antidote to the division and anger that is poisoning our culture.
The format of the book was excellent, as mentioned before it’s broken down into small chapters that wouldn’t take too long to read (although will definitely give you lots to ponder), and each chapter is started with a drawing designed to illustrate the authors point neatly and succinctly.
While the world says the strong, powerful, and happy are “well off”, Jesus turns our expectations upside down by saying it’s the weak, sad, and overlooked who are well off in God’s kingdom.
I will say that unlike most devotionals that I’ve read in the past, this one isn’t designed to give you warm fuzzy feelings and set you up for a day of feeling like you’re the model Christian. This book will challenge you and make you think seriously about how you’re living and where you might be falling short.
I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to every Christian I know, with the caveat that it should not be rushed. Now I’ve finished and can see the immense value in the contents of these pages, I’ll be starting from the beginning and taking a slower journey.
I was going to add some more of my favourite quotes from the book here, but like I said earlier, there were just too many, so all I’ll say is go pick up this book when it’s released, you definitely won’t regret it!