I am seriously one of those people who will finish a good book and be like, “That was the best book EVER!” and really mean it. So I feel like sometimes when I say that, it seems a little insincere. But truly, you need to stop what you are doing right now and go get a copy of “The Jesus Life: 8 Ways to Recover Authentic Christianity” by Stephen W. Smith. Seriously…go. I’ll wait…
I have been a Christian my entire life. I grew up in the church and knowing Jesus. Of course my faith has evolved over the years and it is a constant work in progress, but any good Christian should say the same. The minute you think you have ‘arrived’ or know everything is the minute you need to reevaluate things. Heck, that goes for anything in life! So how is it in my years of being a follower of Jesus I never have once stopped to consider what this book presents?
Ask any person who has any inkling about Christianity what it is all about and they will more than likely tell you that it is about following the teachings of Jesus. Love God, love others, take care of the marginalized and all those good things. And, YES, those are all very important and are the bedrock of our faith but what if there was more?
Stephen W. Smith is asking us to take a look at the life of Jesus and attempt to not only follow his teaching but to actually live our lives the way He lived His. He suggests a close reading of the gospel of Luke along with the reading of his book and I would highly recommend that as well. All these little phrases and stories that I had read a hundred times and had skipped over to get to the actual teachings were right there on the page jumping out at me. Things like, “He went off by himself to pray”, or “They went to the temple like the always had”. These little glimpses into how He actually lived can give us valuable insight and something to model our behavior after.
The 8 areas of Jesus’ life that Smith explores are:
- The Way of Dailiness
- The Way of Hiddenness
- The Way of Family
- The Way of Companionship
- The Way of the Table
- The Way of Doing Good
- The Way of Ritual
- The Way of Suffering
Each areas is explored and backed up with scripture. Man, I think I may have nearly underlined every word in the chapters on ritual and suffering. So much good stuff in this book. It has made me stop, pause, and think about how I am living out my life and why I do the things I do. Who am I concerned with impressing? It also caused me to fall in love with communion again. What an amazing ritual passed down from Jesus Himself! Every time we do it, we can remember that Jesus himself asked us to do this. How cool is that?!
If you are sick of the cookie cutter Christianity that is out there any more with it’s questionable morals and ideals, I think you will really love this book. It gets right back to the basics and makes you look at life differently: The Jesus Life.