Monday, June 1, 2015

Book Review: Theological Fitness

I could hardly believe Housewife Theologian author Aimee Byrd was actually coming to our annual retreat. I'd spent the previous months working out the logistics and anticipating her arrival. Since Aimee and I had met through blogging, I'd gotten to know her a little. I was responsible for bringing her to the women of my church. and I was practically giddy.

When she opened with a Bruce Lee quote, I may or may not have wondered what I'd done.

Aimee opens her second book, Theological Fitness: Why We Need a Fighting Faith with the same quote. Like me, readers may shake their heads but, also like me, they will soon understand the connection between Bruce Lee's words and persevering in the Christian faith. Throughout the sessions, she gave us a peek into her book. I was intrigued and told her I was looking forward to its release. I wasn't disappointed.

Theological Fitness is a study of Hebrews 10:23

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Drawing upon her unique background, Aimee brilliantly constructs an analogy between physical fitness and healthy Christian living. She writes, "Theological fitness, then, refers to that persistent fight to exercise our faith by actively engaging in the gospel truth revealed in God's Word. It isn't just a remembering of some Bible verses about God, but a trust in his promises that motivates us in holy living." (16, original emphasis).

Throughout the book, Aimee breaks down the meaning of each section of this one verse, encouraging readers in how to have a practical, fighting faith that will help us endure. From the imperative at the beginning of the verse to the reminder at the end, each word is tremendously important if we are to persevere. Theological Fitness is a call to stop resting on our theological laurels and to work out our salvation (see Phil. 2:12). It is a reminder that this world can be brutal, and we will be pummeled by it unless we are theologically fit.  It isn't easy, but it's the call on our lives as believers in Christ.

One of my (many) favorite excerpts is found in the chapter entitled "Plateau Busters"
I am fighting for a Warrior who has already assured my victory. He paid the highest cost, robbing Satan of any collateral. He has given us our assurance to persevere. The beauty of the Christian life is that you don't peak in your twenties. Our goal isn't merely to read through the whole Bible or to reach some moral platitude. Our goal isn't to have a Christian life that looks squeaky clean to the watching world. It isn't to marry the perfect person, get the right job, or raise brag-worthy children. Our goal is nothing less than to see Jesus Christ face to face and eternally dwell with him in the new heaven and the new earth. (147-148)
Focusing on this goal encourages me to keep practicing my faith, to keep running the race toward the finish line of heaven. Just as we reap benefits when we set ignore the potato chips and go for a walk instead, the rewards of theological fitness will be evident in our lives.

For those who want to have a fighting, victorious - and yes, sometimes difficult - faith, Theological Fitness is like having a personal trainer teach and encourage you to reach that goal.

*Thanks to P&R Publishing for allowing me to review this book.

No comments:

Post a Comment