Chapter 1 – Restating the Obvious
So the first week of Lent is nearly up, and I’ve read the first chapter of C J Mahaney’s book. It was a great reminder to me of where my life, especially my thought life, should be focussed.
In this chapter he sets out his aims for the book.
He wants his readers to know that:
The key to joy, to growth, to passion isn’t hiding from you. It’s right before your eyes.
It’s the gospel
Mahaney begins his book by imagining Timothy first reading Paul’s second letter to him. As Paul faces death, his final word to Timothy is to guard the gospel, the one truth, the one message.
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel 2 Timothy 2v8
Mahaney reminds his readers that
Jesus Christ died so that sinners would be reconciled to God and forgiven by God.
He calls this the ‘foundational reality’ of the message that Paul taught and the ‘only essential message in all of history’. If our lives are not centred on this message we can find that
- We often lack joy
- We don’t consistently grow in spiritual maturity
- Our love for God lacks passion
- We are always looking for some new technique, some ‘new truth’ or new experience that will pull all the pieces of our faith together.
I don’t know about you, but I can relate to all these symptoms. I’m not a very emotional person, so I think I can dismiss my lack of joy and passion ‘because I’m just not like that’. I also have excuses for my failure to grow in maturity, pretending that I’m already mature – I’m a Vicar’s wife after all. And a new quiet time book will always be the solution to my failures.
So I’m very much looking forward to reading more and getting back to the cross this Lent. Chapter 2 is really short, so keep on reading!