This book may be aimed at young people, but it certainly doesn’t shy away from dealing with big issues. Starting from the firm conviction that God’s Word is essential for understanding the truth about how we are to live, Chris and Liz offer a refreshing picture of a life not based on fleeting feelings and desires, but rather on the unchanging fact that we exist to image God, to His glory.
Dealing with current social issues such as modern feminism, gender identity, and abortion, this book provides an alternative perspective to that which young people currently encounter both in classrooms and on social media. For example, I found it fascinating to recognise for the first time that it was as Christianity spread that women were increasingly recognised and honoured in society. The idea that our faith is inherently oppressive towards women is simply not true. Facts such as this equip the reader to take what they have learned and share their faith more confidently in an increasingly hostile culture.
Additionally, I enjoyed the explanation in Chapter Nine of why it is so important for Christians to hold to a Biblical understanding of marriage. The authors are clear that marriage exists primarily as a picture of the precious relationship that Christ enjoys with His church. An attack on marriage is an attack on the Gospel, and this is excellently illustrated.
I was also struck by the testimonies from various Christians who have had to work through these challenges themselves and have come to testify to the grace of God in their own lives. It reminded me that there truly are no limits to the depths of love and forgiveness available to us in Christ; no matter how far we have wandered, there is always a way back. Recognising this in the lives of others challenged me to consider the parts of my life where I am not fully submitting to Christ, and also helped me to think in a more loving way about those who are tempted in ways which I have not yet personally faced, by God’s grace.
All of the terms used were clearly defined throughout and no prior knowledge was assumed, meaning that the book is an accessible read to those who are perhaps encountering these topics for the first time. It is also sensitive and discreet, not giving more detail than it needs to, which is particularly important given the nature of some topics and the age of the target audience.
Throughout the book, complex issues are addressed with nuance, as the authors manage to strike the balance between standing firmly by the truth and also pointing out well-intentioned and yet unhelpful ways of thinking about these issues. One example of this is in the discussion of gender stereotyping; Chris and Liz are careful to distinguish between God-given differences between men and women, and generalisations about how the sexes behave which may often be accurate, but are not always helpful, particularly in relation to gender dysphoria.
Perhaps one of the most encouraging aspects of the book was the authors’ decision not to merely highlight the ways in which the world tries to distort God’s good design, but also to end with an exploration of the beauty to be found in both marriage and singleness. Whilst parts of this book dealt with disheartening topics, I walked away feeling uplifted and inspired to trust that God’s way really is the best. At the heart of this depiction of a better alternative to the world’s way of living is clear presentation of the gospel in the chapter on ‘Personal Purity’ – our sin and need for a Saviour ought to make us turn in repentance to a forgiving God. Chris and Liz are wonderfully clear on the futility of seeking to resist sexual temptation without the help of the Holy Spirit.
I would strongly recommend Challenges to Living God’s Way to young people because we live in a world where the issues it deals with are becoming increasingly prevalent. Whether you are working through one or multiple of these struggles personally, or trying to help a friend navigate a difficult time, it is invaluable to learn from the wisdom of those who have spent years thinking through such topics from a Biblical perspective.
(Challenges to Living God’s Way is available from the Lovewise website here)