You might be a little special if God has to teach you the same thing dozens of times, from multiple sources and with gentle Holy Spirit nudges. [Enter: me.]
Emerging from the cess pool of an eating disorder, I finally pegged one of the most confusing and frustrating elements of the whole ordeal:
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I couldn’t understand why I didn’t have enough faith to be healed. Why couldn’t I trust God enough to take care of my body? Finally, I told God, “I believe you for eternity, the next life, but I do not, apparently, trust you for today.”
Thankfully, God did heal me from anorexia, and today I walk in progressive freedom. Each day, month, year, I glance back and realize I’m more alive than I used to be. But it’s that progressiveness that means I still need books like Craving Grace, by Ruthie Delk.
Delk is transparent from the very beginning. She too was an unbelieving Christian (it’s not really an oxymoron). This Christian’s salvation is not at stake, but their joy–the joy of the Lord, their peace–the peace that passes understanding, and their relationship–the ability to see God as the perfect father–will always be intermittent.
Delk uses a diagram she calls the “Gospel 8”. It’s a clever tool that expresses how we hang in the cycle of repentance and restoration for a time, then make a wrong choice concerning our sin and suddenly find ourselves stuck in a cycle of resistance and isolation. These two touching circles of thought and action cause the Christian to either understand their identity as a child of God or falsely believe they are an orphan.
With steady steps, Delk leads the reader through specific, practical steps to see their sin as it really is, repent in truth, receive God’s insanely wonderful forgiveness and walk in the light of grace–the grace we all crave. At the same time, one for one, Delk presents what will always happen if we refuse to see our sin as God does, repent in truth and receive grace. Suddenly, we’re back in the circle of orphan-living.
John Piper uses the expression, “preach the gospel to yourself.” I’ve never been sure how to do it. The Bible calls us to share the gospel with the world. The majority of nonbelievers find themselves tangled constantly in the lower circle–managing sin and struggling to find hope, peace and joy in morality.
So whether I learn to use this tool to preach the gospel to myself or others, there is everything to gain.
For each and every Christian, Craving Grace, will be an invaluable tool on their progressive journey toward Christ-likeness.