What Jesus Demands

Book #8 of 2023
Book Review

The word “demand” brings about a lot of connotations. When someone demands instead of asking for something, my rebellious nature usually tends to not give in to said demand. My heels tend to dig in when things are demanded of me. Just ask nicely, and things will go smoother.

Like many of John Piper’s books, he has a way of explaining what he means in very honest ways. My defenses would not be up nor my heels dug in to disobey if a fire fighter, after rescuing me from the flames of a burning building, thrusts a cool cup of water at me and demands I drink it. “Here, drink this!” he would exclaim, and a heaving, soot-covered me would gladly oblige. This is the tone of the book. There are many things that Jesus demands from His followers, but like the newly rescued, my attitude shifts because all Jesus is demanding of me, He is providing and ultimately is for my good. As a rescue, I am grateful and wanting to do what He demands because it feels good to do it. Like the cool water to my parched throat his demands will help me and heal me. There are some healing that is slow and painful, but in the end, I become better and He is glorfied.

In an interview about this book, Mr. Piper states that he took a 4 month study time to focus solely on the second part of the Great Commission which states “and you shall teach them all that I have commanded you”. What has Jesus commanded us to do? Piper mentions that he was able to group all the commands Jesus gives into 50 categories, each one is then listed as a chapter in the book.

This book was intense, but isn’t Christianity? We are miraculously saved from not just Hell, but our own destruction here on earth. What Jesus asks of us goes against the grain of our nature. To forgive the unforgiveable, to love the unlovely, to pray for our enemies and give to those who would steal from us. Why does Jesus ask such things from us? Because, it was/is what He did/does for us. He forgives the unforgiveable. He loves the unlovely. He intercedes for us, and all that we have exploited and taken and used in His creation, He gladly gives us more. We do all these things for others, because we know it was done to us first. Then, to top it all off, we are better for it. When we gladly obey His commands, we are not tied to the petty things and feelings of this world, but we are elevated to a place the world cannot understand.

After reading these kinds of books, I often wonder what my life would look like if I radically obeyed all Jesus commands. What would my life be like? I have failed to obey most of the things He demands of me, but as always He is longsuffering and compassionate in allowing me to continue in my sanctification. In His eyes, I am forgiven. Blameless. Loved and doing a great job! Even when I don’t feel that way. Truth is immovable to my fluctuating feelings, and I am so grateful for that.

Piper does warn that it is easy to fall into leagalism with these demands, and anything done without love is in vain and even sinful. This also isn’t a to-do list. Remember the imagery given at the beginning. You are not drinking that cool cup of water begrudgingly. In order to have the right attitude, we must have a right understading of what it cost to save us and be grafted into the family of God. And when we understand who we are and that inspite of that, God loved us and sent His Son to save us, then obeying what He demands becomes easy and even pleasant.

To say I enjoyed this book would be the wrong phrase. I grew when I read this. As Christians, we cannot look the same as the world. There is no other religion in the world where the god does all the work, provides all the faith and asks us to rest in his love. We are truly blessed to do as He demands.

This book is 400 pages. It has a Goodreads rating of 4.26.

Come, and Be Strange With Me

When Christians throw their lot in with Jesus, we lose the right to protect our reputation. When you love the strangers, you will become strange. – Rosaria Butterfield

“Gender identity”, “gay marriage”, “preferred pronouns”, “binary” these and other words flood us with different emotions and thoughts. But the connotations that are attached to them should not keep us from fulfilling Christ’s call to love and pray for all, even for those we may have trouble understanding.

I just finished watching a video of Rosaria Butterfield speaking at Harvest Church in California and that woman has a way of speaking to me that just makes me want to take her up on all the challenges she graciously gives Christians! It like all rational thinking goes out the window! She just hits me on a whole other level! She is just so genuine and I want to be her when I grow up!  After I stopped heaving and shouting “amen” at my computer screen, I called out to my introverted husband and told him,”You know how we opened our home after Sunday for lunch to our church?” He stood there immobile and silent, probably not wanting to remember. “Well, now I’m inviting the whole town!” He did what he usually does when I start going nuts, he looked deep into my eyes and then just walked away.

I have no idea how this is going to look. I don’t know how I am going to do this, but read this verse with me. It’s Mark 10:28-30:

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”. “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

Are you reading this?! Have the Christians in your church received mothers and  brothers and sisters a hundred times over from us?!? Has your community? Has  your neighbor? Has Kuttawa?  Jesus is not talking about how its going to be like this in Heaven, he said: THIS PRESENT AGE! That means right now! There should be no lonely Christians! Not if this verse is true. Why is inviting someone to live with us shocking? Why is having people over all the time weird? Why are our best friends the ones we least pray with and open up Scripture with? Why are we not strange in this way?

open doorI have failed in this. I have let my feelings and my respect for privacy dictate my behavior instead of God’s call for me. What if I believed the Bible was true? Help me God to believe Your Word is true! There are not many books I can think of that have impacted me more than the book: The Gospel Comes With a House Key by Rosaria. You can see my review of this book here or you can buy it here.

I leave you with the YouTube video I just watched and invite you to come and be strange with me!