In copywriting, offering “10 simple steps” is a great way to gain viewership. Promises to provide something life-changing with ease makes for a great hook. There’s a reason for that.
We like reward without risk. We aim to get the most out of doing the least. Call it entitlement, laziness, or whatever you’d like, but the truth is the snare of “easy” appeals to us.
Jason Mitchell’s book No Easy Jesus exposes how we fall for the same old trick over and over again.
When we believe in Easy Jesus, we miss out on the wonder, purpose, and joy of living life the way God intended for His beloved. We get caught up in convenience, safety, complacency, and other things that are less than God desires for us.
Mitchell’s focus is on “what happens after we’ve been made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ.”
Early on, he makes the foundational point that:“grace is opposed to earning, not effort.” -Jason Mitchell Click To Tweet
From there, No Easy Jesus addresses the effort Christ calls believers to exert. Generosity, sexuality, forgiveness, compassion, and several other topics are opened up and examined. The goal of each excavation is to help believers understand the what, why, and how of living life God’s way.
Sections in every chapter debunk the myths and dispel the excuses that keep us serving an Easy Jesus. For instance, Mitchell shares the story of the week he made the decision to follow Christ seriously. A few days after his decision, he went to a strip club with friends. Upset that he chose something so not godly, he did what many of us do with Easy Jesus- he got frustrated God didn’t stop him!
As he then explains:
“I didn’t know I’d have to choose to follow him again on Friday and everyday thereafter- that I’d have to ‘continue following’.”
Highly quotable, the book weaves pieces of personal stories like these in with Biblical examples and Mitchell’s own observations about the grit that faithful living requires. Examples of quotes include:
- “At some point, intentions must mature into commitments.”
- “I’m more comfortable asking God to comfort others than with having him ask me to do it.”
- “Hurrying is the enemy of compassion. It renders us unable to notice.”
Points like these dot the landscape of No Easy Jesus, creating a detailed, colorful image of realities we often gloss over. The picture Mitchell paints is a lot to take in, so I’d recommend reading (and rereading) with a highlighter in hand.
In the introduction, Mitchell shares his goal is to “challenge you without weighing you down.” Prepare yourself as you settle into this. Something will stand out. A few smashed excuses may surprise you. You might disagree on some finer points. But you will be challenged to take a look at who you are following by faith.
We can all benefit from rubbing our eyes and reorienting ourselves once in awhile to be sure it’s really Jesus we’re following after.
<This honest review was offered in exchange for a free copy provided by Tyndale House Publishers>
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