“The Utter Relief of Holiness”, John Eldredge
I so love John Eldredge’s work. He has a way of capturing the essence of the desire in our hearts. This little book is no exception and in fact I’d suggest it’s one of his best.
He starts out by asking a question that I’ve never asked myself: “What is Christianity supposed to do to a person?” Such an obvious question I chided myself for never asking it of myself. He then points to Scripture to provide the answer. And we’re only at page 7.
A verse that I’ve read repeatedly through my life but never with the association to that question above.
“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.” (Eph 1:4)
The book is separated into two parts: the first outlines why we should desire it. Once we are captured by the “utter relief” grace provides through Jesus, Eldredge, in the second half of the book, provides a very practical outline for “The Way to Holiness”.
It’s confrontational, as holiness has to be. It’s only when we step out of our comfort zone and start dealing with the sin in our lives that we can begin the journey. And a journey it is. We so often want the magic pill or the miraculous moment that will transform us. Sometimes we receive those, but more often than not, it’s part way through the journey and not at the beginning. Otherwise, we wouldn’t need to depend on Jesus each day to help us.
Like any new habit we need to train ourselves. “The Way to Holiness” is no different. Yes, at first it feels like a chore, but via arming us with lots of Biblical references plus suggested prayers, Eldredge teaches us how “to lean into” catching the wave of holiness.
As with all of his books, Eldredge keeps his focus on Jesus. “The hope of Christianity is that we get to live the life of Jesus. His beautiful goodness can be ours.” (p179)
That’s my desire.
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