This is a continuation of my previous blogs regarding the above mentioned book recommended at our last Synod, by our Canon Theologian Henry Jansma. Check out the previous blogs for my overview and reviews of Parts 1 and 2 of the book. This review is going to cover “Part 3,” titled “General Counsels for Young Men.” Again, I will be taking just a small selection of quotes from the book, but there is SO much more to read. As I have said before, this book is good for anyone, not just the young and not just men.
The first quote is both a warning and good advice.
Will you play with poison? Will you sport with hell? Will you take fire into your hand? Page 39
We all see the wisdom in good advice. There is something to be said for using repetition. It reinforces the main idea. So look at this advice and decide whether you think it is worth following. Your parents have probably told you to not play with fire. Your parents hopefully also kept poisonous chemicals including things like bleach out of your reach and warned you against spilling them on yourself or drinking them. Do you think that you can beat the Devil at his own games? Don’t think that like the song, “Devil Went Down To Georgia,” that you are smarter than the Devil. Your only hope of beating the Devil is turning your life over to Jesus.
The second quote concerns whether you know Jesus intellectually or also in your innermost soul.
It is not the mere knowing Christ's name that I mean, it is the knowing his mercy, grace, and power, and knowing him not by the hearing of the ear, but by the experience of your hearts. Page 40
Head knowledge may only take you so far. At some point, you have to acknowledge that you are a sinner and deeply in need of a Savior. Odds are you have spent a great deal of time, trying to earn your way into Heaven. At your moment of revelation, you cannot help but feel moved that a person, you never met in real life, died over two thousand years ago to save you from Hell. You feel like you are no longer carrying around this heavy burden of guilt and shame.
Romans 8:31 English Standard Version (ESV) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) 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.
The third quote reminds us of something that we take for granted and since we cannot actually see it, we probably tend to ignore. Never forget that nothing is so important as your soul Page 42
Why would we neglect our soul? Science is probably not our friend in this. Since we cannot prove we have one, we have to take it on faith. If your faith is strong, then this might not be an issue for you. I hope and pray that is the case. Your soul is your connection with God, in the sense that it is an intangible part of you and will continue on after you are dead. Why would any sane person do anything to jeopardize where that soul ends up? If you believe in an afterlife and I assume that my audience here is mostly Christian, then you have to be thinking of what comes after death. Don’t waste the time you have left doing any damage to your soul.
The fourth quote asks us to make sure we know where our priorities need to be. No! You were meant for something higher and better than this. You were placed here to train for eternity. Page 43
I think we all wonder at some point why we are here. In some cases, we think we are here to do some sort of job, but that is not the most important reason for our existence. It might be that you are doing a really important job. Where would we be without doctors? Still even a doctor’s job is not very important at all if they are not also seeking the Kingdom of Heaven.
The fifth and last quote points us back to the book that I hope you are reading every day. But not newspapers, novels, and romances be read, while the prophets and apostles lie despised. Page 49
I have joked along with many other clergy that people need to dust off their bibles and actually read them. There is plenty to read and I am not suggesting that you don’t read any good novels. I love reading. I hope you do as well. However, we should not neglect reading the Bible. It is the most important book you will ever read. In addition, when you are done, you need to read it again and repeat that until the day you die. It is worth it, believe me!
That is all for this review. I hope you have gained some new insight into your faith from this and are encouraged to possibly read this book or even better to go read your Bible. Stay tuned in about a week for the next and final installment on this book.