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Loving Jesus More Paperback – September 30, 2014
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“If you can believe the holy, righteous Creator and sustainer of all really cares about you and wants a relationship, then you can believe he wants you to love, as well. Phil Ryken has written a dangerous book. Drink in these thoughts, pore over these pages, but please do not keep this to yourself.”
—Chris Fabry, Host, Chris Fabry Live!; author, Every Waking Moment
“I wish I could say that I read Loving Jesus More with joy, but I didn’t. I read it with grief. It exposed once again how weak and fickle my love for Jesus really is. Sadly, beneath my theological knowledge and biblical literacy is a heart that is still prone to wander. But Ryken didn’t leave me with a better understanding of what it means to love Jesus and the pain of acknowledging that I love him less. No, this book drips with the love of Jesus for me—love that is constant even when it is not reciprocated. This book balances the shocking honesty of the gospel with its glorious hope. I’m thankful for the surgery done on me through this book, and I think you will be too.”
—Paul David Tripp, president, Paul Tripp Ministries; author, What Did You Expect?
“Phil Ryken has taught us about loving Jesus more by going deep to the truth of the Bible, by helping our hearts to be stirred up by Jesus’s love for us, and by being direct and practical about loving the Lord and his church.”
—Joseph "Skip" Ryan, Minister, Park Cities Presbyterian Church; Moderator, General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America
“At the heart of Christianity is a simple passion: love for Jesus. Everything flows from this passion. And yet for most, love for Jesus is elusive. In Loving Jesus More Phil Ryken gives you a path to follow that will fan that passion into a flame.”
—Paul E. Miller, executive director, seeJesus; author, A Praying Life and A Loving Life
About the Author
Philip Graham Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford) is the eighth president of Wheaton College. Formerly, he served as senior minister of Philadelphia’s historic Tenth Presbyterian Church. He has written or edited more than 40 books, including the popular title Loving the Way Jesus Loves, and has lectured and preached at universities and seminaries worldwide.
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In a series of 9 sermons, Phil Ryken takes the readers through various aspects of what a christians need to know and understand so that we can grow to love Jesus our Saviour more. Phil first takes the readers to the source of love, both our love towards God and more importantly, His love towards us. Phil then rakes the readers through many struggles a christian might face in the journey of being a christians. I felt that as I read, many of the sermons addresses real needs and questions for myself and for other christians and he always directs and reminds us of the love Christ has for us.
This book is also written very pastorally, Phil shows what is written in God’s word fearlessly and tells the readers to struggle alongside with him, he does not need or want to act as if he has reached sinless perfection. Although Phil is the president of Wheaton College, yet he is too is in the trenches with us, struggling and wanting to love Jesus more.
This might not be a book you want, but this is a book you'll need. If you find yourself struggling or lax in your love for Christ, read this, be encouraged and I believe you’ll walk away wanting to love Jesus more. I foresee myself turning to this book time and again in the future, just to be encouraged to love Jesus more and more.
Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Right off the bat, Ryken makes the salient comment that “If we say that we want to love Jesus more – or that we ought to love him more, whether we want to or not – then we are admitting that we do not love Jesus as much as we should.” This is an important statement as it reveals a lack of something in our lives, namely a constant and unending passionate love for Jesus that results in a life lived that seeks to glorify Jesus. Thankfully, God outlines throughout Scripture what it means to love Him more and there is no shortage of defining exactly what love is and what it looks like in action. The action of love in our life comes through the work of the Holy Spirit. Ryken aptly notes this reality by stating “God has put his love into our lives by pouring his Spirit into our hearts.
There are a couple of specific points Ryken makes which I found quite excellent and it are these points I will focus on in the remainder of this review. The first is what it means to love Jesus with all we have. Scripture certainly declares we are to “Love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength” but what does all that really mean? Ryken correctly states in regard to this command, “When the Bible tells us to love God with mind, heart, soul, and strength, it is not telling us to do four different things but giving us four different ways to do one and the same thing.” Furthermore, we love God with our entire being because He first loved us. Ryken hones in on that important element quite often and rightfully so as that is the believers only valid response to God’s gracious mercy.
Love is not just some mushy emotional response that has no connection to our daily actions. Love as a response is action oriented and the action that comes as a response to God’s love is devotion and adherence to God’s commands. Ryken provides some very practical insight into what loving God and by extension loving Jesus looks like, focusing in specifically on the relational aspect. He states “Joyful obedience is one of the fastest ways to a parent’s heart. By contrast, failing to follow clear instructions is a sign of disaffection as well as disrespect.”
I also appreciated the fact that Ryken takes this aspect of obedience one step further, noting the reality that as the bride of Christ, we are in a marital relationship with Jesus our bridegroom. This betrothal marital relationship is one of anxious anticipation for the day when we will be with our beloved for all eternity. Ryken expertly notes this future reality and how it impacts the present by stating “As we get ready for our wedding day – as we prepare to celebrate the everlasting nuptials – our love for Jesus grows (or at least it ought to).” This hearkens back to the statement Jesus made in the Gospels that if we love him, we will keep his commands. This means our love for Jesus should be revealed to the world with a love that is ever focused on devotion to God’s commands us. We should as noted by Ryken “keep striving for incorruptible affection, wanting to love him more and more.”
Do you love Jesus? Do you find it hard at times? Are you wanting to learn more about how to love Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Do you find yourself a bit unsure of what this bride/bridegroom relationship is all about? If the answer is yes to one or all of those questions, then I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Philip Ryken’s excellent book. Given that as his bride, we should all desire to love Jesus more, having a helpful guide that outlines what loving Jesus is all about is something of great importance for us all. Thus, I recommend Loving Jesus More for all believers.
I received this book for free from Crossway Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Some of the language used is slightly too emotional for me, but this is still a useful book on this subject covering all of the necessary areas and offering practical advice.