Open up the Christian book catalogs or get on social media and you will see the countless Christian books coming out for women. Some are very solid with good theology that I can’t wait to read, so I add them to my Amazon cart as soon as possible. It’s unfortunate though, that, often, these books written for Christian women assist in feeding our flesh and promoting self-help. As women, we love these kinds of books because they give us the formula for raising our children or having a good marriage. The message is so attractive (and so are the authors–why is that?) but there is danger in these messages that are at odds with the Gospel.
A wise man once said “. . . there is nothing new under this sun,” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NASB) and that holds true today.
BE WARY OF ADDING WORKS
The Apostle Paul had to write to churches regarding these sorts of things. They were adding works to the Gospel, which is no Gospel at all. Some thought that one had to be circumcised to be saved. Others were being influenced and taught that practicing rituals was necessary in order to live the Christian life. Paul always pointed them to the sufficiency that is in Jesus Christ and reminded them that no one is justified by their own works, but by Christ alone.
The “try harder” mentality is nothing new, it just looks different in 2018. The human flesh has a hard time believing that the Word of God is sufficient and that the Gospel is the heart of what really helps us. I disciple women regularly, and so often, they leave our time together disappointed that I didn’t give them something more than the Word and the hope of the Gospel.
LEARN FROM ME
Just like Paul taught the various churches, we need to be taught and reminded daily that you and I don’t need to be under the bondage to do more; to pray circles around our biggest dreams and fears; to listen for Jesus calling and learn to hear His voice; to find 1,000 gifts in my day in order to understand gratitude; and that I am a modern day superwoman. We think our weary souls will find rest in these solutions, but they don’t. Trust me. I have been there and felt the heaviness of condemnation when I was a new Christian, all because I didn’t realize that Christ was enough. It wasn’t until I recognized that I could rest in my Savior that the heaviness lifted.
The best words to my ears came from Christ when He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28, NASB)
He says to “learn from me.” Are you learning from Him? Or do you seek the wisdom that doesn’t come from above but through authors that are putting you back into slavery?
Here is some really good news: Girl, you don’t have to get up, wash your face, try harder and be all that you can be.
Christ calls you to live a life of obedience that only comes through the grace that He gives you.
You were created for something, so don’t go looking for more. You were created in His image so that you could reflect Him in all that you do. Let Him take that yoke from you so that you can live in the glorious truths of how Jesus Christ came to save sinners and you are now free from the heavy burdens.
WHAT TO READ AND HOW TO CHOOSE
Frequently, women come to me and ask, “How do we know what is good to read and what isn’t?” I am encouraged when they ask these questions because that tells me they really want to know truth. Paul warned Timothy that there would be those that would creep in and captivate weak-willed women that are led astray by various sin and passion, so this is a warning to us that we need to be careful what we put into our minds. Here are some ideas that can help you become more discerning:
- Read your Bible! The more you read the Word, the more you can smell heresy when it comes at you.
- When you read your Bible, don’t focus on yourself and how a certain passage can help you. Instead, focus on the character of God and who Christ is. Then, focus on how you should respond in light of what you have read. So many women’s Bible studies put “us” as the focal point instead of God, which, in turn, attracts us to self-help books.
- If you don’t know what to read, ask your elders or older women in the church that have good discernment and have knowledge about what is circulating around on Facebook and in bookstores.
- Tim Challies, a Christian, book reviewer, and author of several books reviews many of the latest Christian books that are being published, good and bad, and can be relied upon to provide Biblical thoughts. Visit his website for his insights on the most recent books that the Christian community is offering.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1, NASB)