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Review of "Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: Teen Edition" by J.D. Greear

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

4 / 5 Stars; Christian Nonfiction

This is not my best trait, but I tend to be snarky and critical of many things in Christian culture. I owe this to the ever-growing foot we Christians keep shoving in our mouths, giving our opinions when they aren't asked for.

The excuse I give for my behavior, as a pastor's wife, is that I want to be ever-careful not to overstep boundaries with anyone. Sure, I want people to know Jesus, but I can't expect them to care what Jesus thinks if they don't even care about Jesus. Hence, when I hear of Christians communicating badly, or communicating when they shouldn't, I'm on Snark: Level 100.

All that to say, when I walked past this book blazing its controversial title on the shelf, I snapped that sucker up. It sounded wrong, and challenging, and I wanted to know more.

This is not to say the book strives to be controversial; on the contrary, J.D. Greear is careful to explain that, although he believes certain Christian cliches are problematic left on their own, they are at least well-intentioned.

In the course of these light 127 pages geared toward teenagers, Greear addresses the following question:

How does a person know if they're saved?

How does a person know if they're saved?

The reason he would encourage teens to stop asking Jesus into their hearts is simple: "The sinner's prayer is not a magic recipe you follow to get a salvation cake," nor is it a "certificate of salvation." His point here is salvation isn't dependent upon the day you make the decision, it's dependent upon the decisions you make today. He says faith is comprised of mental agreement and a posture of obedience. He uses an analogy with a chair.

How can you tell whether you sat down? Because you are in a sitting posture in a chair.

How can you tell whether you are saved? Because you are in a posture of obedience. It's in the desires of your heart, the way you think about things, and the decisions you make.

Salvation isn't a moment; it's a relationship we build upon through love and obedience. We don't need to know whether we had a moment of obedience; we need to know whether we have a plan to continue in obedience.

I was pleased by this book because Christian cliches can be, at best, incomplete, and at worst, wrong (for example, you'd be asking the Holy Spirit into your heart, not Jesus, because Jesus is a physical man whereas the Spirit is a spirit that guides you and other theological reasons and--well, you get the idea, LANGUAGE IS IMPORTANT, YO). When we thoughtlessly repeat cliches, we come to forget what they mean, and in writing this book, Greear gives readers the opportunity to look at the real mechanics of salvation and not just the words that front the action.

What's also great about this book is its accessibility. It's a little bitty thing that fits in your schoolbag and doesn't take up much space. The language is simple, and sometimes silly, but not at all watered-down. It's in a format teens can understand and identify with, and the author gives us a taste of his credibility from page one--the man estimated that he'd said the sinner's prayer over 5,000 times, so if anyone was qualified to write the book on doubt, it's this guy.

The chapters aren't particularly short, and sometimes the concepts can get pretty deep, and for that reason I'd recommend it for high schoolers more than middle schoolers, but chances are, if you ever wondered to yourself, "How do I know I'm saved?" you're probably ready to eat this book up.

Matthew 6:27 says you "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" When you crack open this book, you're sure to have at least one less thing to worry about.

To learn more about Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart, checkout its page on Goodreads.

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