Sunday, July 29, 2012

Relentless: The Power You Need to Never Give Up

This book serves as an insistent reminder of how we are called to be when it comes to following Christ: Relentless!  The main message that God’s grace empowers us to overcome the struggles and temptations in this life is supported through a number of different Scripture passages as well as personal examples from Pastor John Bevere’s life. 
Prayer and perseverance are key as we move towards our eternal goal of Heaven.  These essential elements are explored and expanded upon as they can be applied to our daily lives. 
I was bothered by some of what Bevere wrote.  I found certain passages to be quite contradictory and was disappointed to find the same major misconceptions regarding the Catholic faith that are common among Protestant pastors, even those who supposedly have some experience with the Church.  One example of such misunderstanding that really jumped out at me can be found on page 98 where the author asserts that “For some reason, many people believe that godliness is exemplified by not having enough.  In extreme cases, some people even take vows of poverty in their service to God.” 
Bevere goes on to suggest that such a vow is actually against Biblical principles, which is really absurd.  Jesus and his Apostles, many religious, saints, and even laypeople have responded to God’s call to live a life that is simple and detached from the materialism that is espoused by our world.  A very prominent example of this is the life of Saint Mother Teresa.  She vowed to live a life of poverty, not because she thought God wouldn’t provide her with whatever she needed in abundance, but because she trusted more than most do that this would be the case, so she and the Missionaries of Charity were dedicated to serving others and relying completely on the Lord for the food, medicine, shelter, and financial support needed to continue their ministry. 
I bring this up because Bevere illustrates a clear understanding of God’s call to rely completely on Him for our financial well-being.  He doesn’t seem to see the correlation that for some that means giving up all possessions and money to serve others and thereby relying completely on the Lord for all the provisions they need for themselves and others. 
When Bevere talks about how he and his wife were challenged to rely on the Lord for their needs and those of their family when he was called into full-time speaking ministry, he doesn’t recognize that as an aspect of accepting poverty when that’s what God requires.  This pastor doesn’t claim that we are to hoard our wealth or anything like that, but that God intends abundance for us that He alone can and will provide when we put our trust in Him.  That’s true.  Many times, individuals are asked to trust God for everything and sometimes He asks them to do that by vowing not to accrue things that might get in the way of a closer relationship and deeper reliance on Him.
The essential lesson in this book is that the Lord loves us, is Himself the author of our faith, and gives us all the grace we need to persevere in doing His will, in following Christ, and in bringing others closer to Him, regardless of the struggles in mind, body, and/or spirit that we come up against in the process. 
Pray fervently.  Seek God’s will.  Accept God’s grace to carry it out.  Don’t give up no matter what, and God will provide for all that you need and then some.  These are the basic building blocks that make up the foundation of Christian faith and beliefs. 
The message of persevering in the faith is one all of us need to hear and be reminded of, but I wasn’t as impressed by this particular book as I have been some others that treat the same subject.       
I wrote this review of Relentless for WaterBrook Multnomah’s  program.  For more information about the book or to purchase your own copy, click here.  I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.  To learn more about their reviewer program, click here. 
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