I think it was the cover of this book that really caught my attention. It shows a girl with her face scribbled out. Sick of Me: From Transparency to Transformation by Whitney Capps attacks the current fad, in American Christianity, of presenting ourselves to each other in all our weakness. Of course, Capps doesn't think that admitting our faults is a bad thing, the problem is that we don't want to change. We are happy in staying in our unchanged, broken state, and ironically, using it as a springboard for glorying in ourselves rather than in Jesus Christ. As the author states, "The Christian life is never meant to make people think more or better of me. The goal is for me to look more like Christ, and, should people happen to notice me in the process, for them to think more of Jesus. "
But that of course, is not biblical and it is not godly. This book addresses that quite well. If we are truly convicted about something, we won't feel comfortable not doing anything, besides confessing, about our flaw. "Conviction never leaves us stuck in sin, but always moves us toward change." And she explains that with our salvation comes our transformation. We don't want to be people just concerned about "holy dying", as she terms it, and not concerned about "holy living".
But there were things that I didn't feel comfortable with. For instance, Capps uses some romantic illustrations to picture our work along with the Lord in sanctification: "When I look back on my spiritual journey - the dance I have with the Lord…..Sometimes I would break dance when the Lord was trying to lead me to waltz. I resisted the gentle pull of His arms, pushing Him away so I could do my own thing." And then again, "You guys, we weren't made to dance alone, and we weren't made to simply observe. We were made to dance with Jesus. That's the process. Will we step on His toes from time to time? Sure…" Sanctification is not a romance between us and the Lord. Yes, the Church is to be kept pure, as a bride for her husband, for Christ, but it's not pictured in the Bible as Christ romantically pursuing individual Christians. And sanctification is more like warfare (aren't we told to put on the armor of God?), not a romance where we stumble in the dance and resist the lover's lead.
And then another thing I felt uncomfortable were statements like this, "Yes, the dance of sanctification is God's to lead. It's His process. But even the strongest partner can't lead if His partner won't follow." That doesn’t make sense to me. The much stronger partner (to use the analogy)can't drag the other along? Or just pick them up? What about the discipline of the Lord? That doesn't involve any kind of force? God never makes His children do something against their will for their own good? I'm hoping that this not what Capps means, but it's how it can be taken.
Anyway, it was things like those that made me not like the book as much as I thought I would. There is still quite a bit of good stuff in it, it's just that there were various things in it that kept bugging me.
I'll end with a couple of quotes I really liked:
"More than any person in history, Moses was equipped for God's assignment. But God used forty years of wilderness wandering to strip Moses of his self-confidence. He didn't need Moses' qualifications, and He doesn't need ours. ….Friend, when God wants to use us, He rarely affirms us; He always affirms Himself."
"Look at the lie the devil is selling. Don't let the gospel do its work. Don't show them that this thing really works. Don't live like Jesus can actually change your life for the better. And for sure don't give evidence or testimony to the fact!"
Many thanks to the folks at B&H Academic for sending me a free review copy of this book. My review did not have to be favorable
My Rating 3 out of 5 Stars