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The Beautiful Fight

I just finished reading The Beautiful Fight by Gary Thomas.  (Christianbook.com says it’s no longer available, but Amazon still has it–Christianbook has a look inside feature, though!)


On the heels of the Ron Auch books I have been reading, this book is a good companion!  Now, Mr. Thomas may be a bit less conservative than me (I wouldn’t be taking my daughter to an American Idol concert!), but that doesn’t mean his thoughts on our relationship to Christ and truths about our Christian walk are off at all! 


One of the biggest things I’m taking away from this book is that we focus too much on the Incarnation, and not enough on the Ascension.  Yes, the Incarnation is what brought us salvation–Christ coming in the flesh and dying in our place.  BUT–it was when He ascended to His Father that the Father sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us and empower us!


He didn’t leave us to figure it out, to "try to be holy" in our own strength–praise God!  Because we can’t!!!!


I loved this quote:


The highest motivation for striving to grow in holiness is to honor the God who has saved us.   p. 176

A BIG hearty AMEN!


A few more quotes:


Jesus didn’t come to say, "Don’t worry about being transformed; I’ll love you anyway.’" That’s how some mischaracterize His teaching, conveniently forgetting His words, "If you love Me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15), and "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).  Instead, Jesus came to say, "I have paid the price for your past and future disobedience, and I have released the power for you to be transformed from the inside out.  What was once impossible has become possible.  What was once burdensome now becomes a delight.  You are no longer a slave to your sins.  I have set you free, and in my freedom you are free indeed."

The reason I like the word God-empowered is that it reminds me that we need power.  Christianity is not just about being forgiven; it is about being given the power to change:  "The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power" (1 Corinthians 4:20).  ( pp. 229-30)

He shares the process of transformation in chapter 14 "What If It’s Not Easy?" on pages 208-209.   I won’t quote it at length, but I will give you the first sentence or so of each "step".


The process of transformation thus begins with the fear of God, recognizing that He is Lord and that, as Lord, He has the right to do whatever He thinks is best, regardless of our opinion, comfort, or complaining. 

Transformation then takes root with the virtue of humility, the constant recognition that we need to grow, that we never arrive, and that there are always further lessons to be learned.

Transformation is next strengthened with surrender, the joyful acceptance of God’s providential direction.

Added to this already difficult task is the essential requirement of perseverance.  Transformation is a longtime process requiring vigilance and rededication.

And then, finally, we must embrace gratitude–not just for what God has done but also for what He is doing and what He will do.

This book has been such a challenge to me to make myself pliable in the hands of my Potter, so that He can transform me into what He wills, what will best reflect His glory–"splashes of Glory", as Mr. Thomas calls it!  We are here to reveal Christ, not have a good time, not have all the comforts our little hearts desire, nor to have everyone praise and lift us up.


He has some rich quotes at the beginning of each section and each chapter….here are a few:


Sin is a ceaseless, undying power in our life.  A ceaseless, undying power must come against it.  And there is only one such power in the universe–only one, which has a chance against sin:  the power of the living Christ.   ~Henry Drummond

The greatest ethical challenge is so to live that men don’t glorify you for living that way, but God.  ~John Piper



I hope these glimpses have encouraged you today to continue the beautiful fight, allowing Him to transform you by His power!





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