- Released: 2018
- Pages: 141
- Chapters: 8
- Overall Rating: 9.9/10
If you know me, you know that I love to read. When I was a child my mom didn’t punish me by taking away TV time, she took my books!
Since rededicating my life, however, my interests shifted from reading for fun to reading works that would help me mature in my walk with Christ.
Talk about a heart change!
So I started with books that I already knew about or books written by folks that I am inspired by. I started with ‘When God Writes Your Love Story’ by Eric and Leslie Ludy but halfway through the book, found myself needing something else. I realized that I was okay with being patient for my future husband. In fact, I’ve gotten to the point when I am so satisfied in my walk with Christ that I don’t care if I ever marry!
One day while scrolling on Instagram I saw that Jonathan McReynolds updated his Instagram story.
Wait – quick interruption. Twin, if you’re reading this, I started this post like 2 months ago and just never finished it. I promise I’m not going back on my word to take a hiatus from Instagram!
So like the nosy person that I am, I watched it. He posted someone on his story and they were talking about his book. I was intrigued because much of a fan as I am, I didn’t know he wrote a book! I admire the faith I see on his social media and through his music, but what would this book reveal about him? About his walk with God? My curiosity got the best of me, so I ordered a copy.
Once it arrived I giggled at how cute the cover is. His face is so serious but he looks like he wants to laugh. I rolled my eyes at the fact that yet another person has freckles and I don’t (I think freckles are the coolest thing in the world and I truly wish I had them). I took the book to my room and tossed it on my bed with a promise to return after work.
After clocking out, I snuggled with my favorite blanket, grabbed a pen, and cracked open the book. The second paragraph on the first page had me shook! My standards were met in those few powerful lines.
“Contemporary Christianity has unwittingly taught us that Jesus lives at church, so we tend to just leave Him there. We acknowledge our identity as believers and we claim our Christian religion no matter where we go. But we tend to embrace Him zealously in church and then cease to embrace Him like that again until we return. He’s used to it, though (p11).”
I put the book down and did a quick inventory of my life. Was I really ready to read something like this? I had a feeling that this book would expose sections of my life that I wasn’t quite ready to air out yet. Despite my hesitations at the possibility of being convicted, I kept reading.
Y’all… this book right here?
I don’t just say that because I am a huge fan of his music, but this book truly spoke to me and convicted me. I’m very picky about books written in a casual tone but I feel that he hit the nail on the head. He mentions his acne a few times and I felt connected to him through that common yet frustrating struggle as I have battled with my skin since high school. This book felt more like one long letter to a friend and I absolutely loved it.
Now y’all know (or maybe y’all don’t!) that I’m from Detroit. While our winters aren’t as bad as Chicago, we often have extremely cold and icy days. Why is this important you may ask? Well in the second chapter Jonathan discusses believers being the “salt of the earth”.
As a self-proclaimed nerd, I took great joy in his breakdown of the metaphor that can be found in Matthew 5:13 (so much so in fact that I ended up using this in the small group I lead with Twin to breakdown how we should live as believers). Salt changes water on a molecular level, so it doesn’t exactly melt the ice as many commonly believe. Salt actually lowers the freezing point at which water can turn to ice which means that the temperature that would typically freeze water is no longer effective. How does this connect to believers?
I’m happy you asked! As he eloquently wrote, “as the salt of the earth, we don’t necessarily warm the ice, but our presence makes it a lot harder for the environment to become frozen — completely hardened and numb to the love and truth of God. The enemy must now work harder to harden the hearts of the people around us because the atmosphere has been softened (p53).”
How dope is that? I love how God speaks to us in unique ways when it comes to His Word. I never would’ve gotten that from this passage but now I look at being ‘salty’ in an entirely different light!
As I continued to read, I was forced to take a deeper look into my own life. Sure I had cut out distractions like alcohol, men, and certain musicians, but was that really enough to make space for God in my life?
No. It wasn’t.
It is clear that Jonathan is a man after God’s heart but as I read this book, I began to grow more and more convicted. This reassured me that this was not some book thrown together so he could make more money. This book was clearly prayed over and I am so happy to be a recipient of the blessings that this book offered.
The 6th chapter is by far my favorite. Aptly titled ‘Make Room … In Your Day’, I found myself changing my entire morning routine.
He starts the chapter by talking about his experience as a 2nd grader at St Philip Neri, a Catholic school on the Southside. He recalls having to memorize the Lord’s Prayer and finding beauty in the poetry of this weekly conversation with the Lord. He immediately brought attention to the flaw that surrounds this way of communicating with God. Communication with our Creator should be daily, not weekly!
Exodus 16 is where I (personally) first noticed how ungrateful the Israelites were. The chapter starts with them basically saying that God led them out of Egypt just for them to starve to death in the desert. Instead of trusting that God would provide for them, like He literally did days prior when he lead them out of Egypt, they grumbled against Him. We see God, like the ever-loving and gracious God that He is, provide manna and quail with firm instructions on how much they were to gather. God set it up this way to show them that He would provide for them daily while they were in the wilderness.
However, some folks did not listen. Some gathered way too much, demonstrating their lack of trust in God, to hide for later. ‘They kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell (Exodus 16:20 NIV)’.
“They were lazy doubters. Instead of getting fresh bread every morning, they ended up with a pantry of rotten bread — perhaps, symbolic of a rotting relationship with God. The encouragement they received the day before was already stale. Their loveless religion stank! And yesterday’s faith was covered in maggots (p116)!”
He uses this as a segway into his morning routine. Jonathan admits that the first thing he does in the morning is to reach for his phone. I frowned as I read this because his morning routine was all too familiar to me. I didn’t wake up and talk to God. I would wake up and check Instagram, unread texts, and the News app. I remember putting the book down because my heart felt so incredibly heavy. I didn’t like that I could relate to Jonathan in this situation.
It made me feel bad! God has done so much for me and I couldn’t even do the bare minimum and thank Him for waking me up before grabbing my phone?
So, with an already convicted heart, I kept reading. “Before you check for and return missed calls from people, check-in with God. Maybe He’s been trying to reach you. Daily communication with Him will keep us connected to His called, [messages] and updates (p117).”
Yesterday’s gratitude was covered in maggots and my ‘fresh’ gratitude took the back seat to whatever The New York Times reported on while I slept. “So many issues were created and addressed in those few hours that [I] was dead to the world. So much happened. So many moves were made. So many spiritual schemes were developed and foiled. If we wake up to miss called from the drama, hustle, and bustle of natural life, imagine how much we have missed in the real and eventful spiritual world. Demons and angels, saints, and sinners have had us on their mind for the hours we slept. So the same way that we immediately check our phones for missed correspondence, it is very important to check in with Jesus and get our marching orders, our encouragement, and a renewed perspective at the beginning of the day (p117).”
This passage hit me so hard that I went to Amazon and purchased an alarm clock. I didn’t even want to use my phone as an alarm anymore. I moved my phone charger to the other side of my room and told God that I was going to make some serious changes.
It has been about 2 – 2.5 months since I first read this book and I have to say that my life is incredibly different. I make an effort daily to ensure that God knows that He is someone I treasure. After all, how can you claim to know someone and you don’t spend any time with them? I felt myself moving away from a gray relationship with Christ to a vibrant and colorful one.
I turned the small space between my bed and the wall into my prayer corner, and I have started to really study the Bible. I’m currently reading a few books but I’m studying Jude, a small but powerful book. I recommend Jackie Hill Perry’s study on the book. Your mind will be blown.
I wish I could’ve given this book a 10/10 but there was one grammatical error that I noticed and for that, I had to deduct .1. Other than that, the book was perfect. It forced me to reckon with my beliefs about God and my beliefs about the time I spent with Him
I personally think that Jonathan should write another book. I have no idea what he’ll write about, but his insights are so unique that I would love to learn more from him.
All in all, I highly recommend this book. You will not regret it.