Monday, April 13, 2009

Eyes Wide Open

I scored a copy of Jud Wilhite's newest book from his awesome wife Lori before its release tomorrow. It's a straightforward and powerful message about seeing ourselves the way God sees us. Broken into four parts, Jud tackles the problem of seeing our world through a glass darkly. We often view God and ourselves through a lens of fear,  insecurity, a pressure to have all our stuff in order. But this lens doesn't properly reveal the God we see in Scripture, nor is it a good foundation for building our own identities. Jud puts it this way:
Living with eyes wide open means you don't have to be better looking, lose weight, wear different clothes, or achieve one more thing in your career. You matter just as you are. You are an incredible spiritual being because that's how God created you.
Jud goes on to describe a God of love and compassion who calls us to be priests and saints. (I remember telling junior highers once that Ephesians described them as saints, as holy and set apart in Christ. They looked completely stunned.) We don't often view our identities as saints or priests in the evangelical world--those terms sound kinda Catholic and far too holy for an ordinary person. Yet Scripture reveals that this is how God views us, so why don't we view ourselves that way? This isn't a "power of positive thinking" book or a self-help manual; Jud is simply pointing out the truths about our identity in Christ that we can find in the Bible but we somehow miss.

After talking about God and our own identities in Him, Jud points out that our lives now have to be different. We're called to be transformed from the inside out, leading us to be influencers in culture. I loved the final section about engaging culture and loving the world in the name of Christ. In a chapter talking about the past culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s, Jud writes:
I realized that the culture war is over. And we lost. Let me repeat. We lost! Sure, my perspective is a little skewed because of living in Sin City, but the realization that Christians lost the culture war has actually liberated and empowered me. It has forced me to reevaluate how and when I engage culture. Now my calling is to love and accept people one-on-one, caring for them where they are. My role is subversive as I carry the light and love of Jesus into the streets of my city. I'm trying to flip the perception of superiority and hypocrisy by being honest and straightforward about my faults and my hope for transformation in Jesus. And I'm joining my community in a different culture war--one that attacks poverty, crime, addiction, and pain.
What a beautiful proclamation about engaging culture in a way that breaks down social barriers and embraces love as the best apologetic for our faith!

Eyes Wide Open is a fairly quick read with tiny chapters and lots of engaging stories. But don't let its short length dissuade you from its impact. Our lives would be radically transformed if we could embrace the reality Jud is pointing out here: God really loves us and calls us into a life of grace, truth, and purpose because of what He has done for us in Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the awesome review, Joel!! Appreciate you! Looking forward to meeting you in person next week!