Saturday, October 3, 2015

'The End of Me' by Kyle Idleman


Are you sometimes perplexed with Jesus’s teaching? Do you really want what he wants? Bestselling author Kyle Idleman reveals that the key to the abundant life Jesus promised lies in embracing His inside-out way of life.

As he examines Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, Kyle unpacks the many counter-intuitive truths, including: brokenness is the way to wholeness, mourning is the path to blessing, and emptiness is required in order to know true fullness. Ultimately you will discover how Jesus transforms you as you begin to live out these paradoxical principles. Because only when you come to the end of yourself can you begin to experience the full, blessed, and whole life Jesus offers.

It's always refreshing to come across a book with a theme like this, when so many people promote the opposite point of view. Kyle Idleman begins with a letter. It has the salutation, 'Dear Me' and many of us could surely appropriate what follows. Basically, it's something like, 'I've spent my life looking out for you, keeping you happy and putting your desires first, but here's why I can't keep it up.' And that's what the rest of the book addresses.

Idleman looks at some of Jesus' paradoxical commandments, then goes on to argue that paradoxes form our lives. Like Simon the Pharisee, we're often broken but don't know it, because the world tells us we're on the right track. And like the Pharisees, although we may be legends in our own minds, the things we care about don't necessarily match the things God cares about.

I'm glad Idleman highlights the special features of our day and age, namely social media, on which we can confidently control what we want people to know about us. He draws attention to sneaky ways we have of promoting ourselves without seeming to do anything of the sort, such as the 'humblebrag.' We're reminded that Pharisees might have had huge Twitter followings had they lived in our time. The question of how much we do to be seen is one we should ask ourselves not just once or twice but regularly.

Kyle Idleman suggests way to run counter-culture to the world, to help us become more pure in heart when our insides are more likely to match our outsides. These include voluntary confession of sin, giving sacrificially and anonymously, treating others as better than ourselves, and asking for help. He expounds upon each of these in turn.

We're left with timely warnings such as this. 'Woe unto those who play the game, trying to inflate their reputations by being someone they're not. They will ultimately collapse from sheer exhaustion, their pretenses collapsing with them.'

Thanks to David C Cook and NetGalley for my review copy.

3.5 stars

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