In 2017, my husband and I, more successfully than in past years, read our Bible or some source of devotional with Scripture almost daily. Such growth occurred in our constant stride with being filled with the Spirit, which spilled over into our marriage as well. Wanting to continue that growth and even expand in 2018, I was on the lookout for a new devotional while doing some early Christmas shopping on the big deal day that follows Thanksgiving.
In my searching, I came across what claimed to be the #1 bestselling 365-day devotional. I had also heard mention of it on multiple occasions over the past year. So, I purchased “Jesus Calling” and anxiously awaited diving into my new devotional once the ball dropped in Times Square. It’s now only January 4th and last night was the night I decided I needed to stop reading it.
To be clear right away: I do NOT think “Jesus Calling” is evil, I don’t think it is destroying lives of Christians and I Certainly don’t think poorly of anyone who has read it. It is just not for me and I will explain why.
The premise is about finding Peace in the Lord’s Presence. What I was finding was an uneasy feeling, far from peace, as I read the daily devotionals. I get uncomfortable when “reading” the voice of Jesus from anything other than the Word of God. The daily devotionals are based on Scripture and I think that God can and has used the author’s submissions to bring encouragement to others, but I was not being encouraged. Instead, I was constantly on guard and felt a little awkward with the whole thing. I was trying to let to the words inspire me but it just would not sit right. And I am not going to do that to myself daily for the next year when my goal is to draw nearer.
After dwelling on why I felt this way about it, here is what I have come up with…
My relationship with Jesus is the most sacred thing I have. It is MY relationship with Him. It is different than your relationship with Him because our lives and our experiences are unique. Secondly, our application and understanding of Biblical events probably vary too. I have heard the soft voice of God in times of great need as well. What He speaks to me might be different than what Jesus wants to speak to you.
The author of this book chose to take a leap of faith and obedience, using her intimate conversations that she had with Jesus and share them with the world. I think that is brave but it is not something I need for MY personal relationship with Jesus. Basically, I don’t want to intertwine the Jesus I know as my Savior, friend, and Lord for who He is to her. That is for her relationship; not mine. I know what God has brought me through and how on those nights that I couldn’t sleep due to the heartbreak I was experiencing, it was Him who whispered to me, “I love you.”
Again, I think God has used this book to draw others to a more intimate understanding of the love and intimacy which He desires to have with each of His children. I just found it difficult to accept that this was Jesus talking to me while reading it from a book other than the Bible.
Scripture says “by testing you may discern” in Romans 12:2. I appreciate that the author of “Jesus Calling” openly states that these words are not directly from the Bible and can assume she hoped to bring people to a closer relationship with Jesus. I see no fault in that. I have the same hopes for my book and challenge my audience to test and discern my writings as well. Nothing can supplement the Bible and what God breathed directly on to those pages. No devotional can compare. That is why any devotional should be viewed as lesser-companions to Scripture reading, and used in context.
I encourage you to test and discern everything in this world that tries to compete for your attention with Biblical truths (for example: Books, Songs, and Sermons). Know your Jesus. Recall how He has been faithful to you time and time again. Continue to seek Him in this new year.
May blessings overflow for you in 2018!
~ Lindsey Alaine