Surrender to Love
I want to recommend a book: David Benner’s Surrender to Love: Discovering the Heart of Christian Spirituality. I haven’t read Francis Chan’s Crazy Love yet, but I just finished Surrender to Love, and it is a great encouragement in the Christian life.Here is Benner’s summary of what the book is about:
“This book is about love – not the soft, sentimental kind but the strong, spirit-transforming kind. It is about the paradoxical ways we often fear love and the way love uniquely offers release from our deepest fears. It is about the consequences of building the spiritual journey around anything else than surrender to love. And it is about knowing ourselves to be deeply loved by God as the first step in becoming genuinely great lovers of others and God” (p. 11).
I agree with what Benner says here about the importance of building our lives around love – specifically, God’s perfect love. I am thoroughly convinced of this: the only thing that truly transforms a person is receiving and giving God’s love. There are all sorts of ways to get someone to modify his or her behavior, but only love transforms him or her into the likeness of Jesus. Period.
Throughout the book, Benner shows how love is tied to surrender and obedience (two other crucial aspects of the Christian life). He talks about barriers to love. Most of all he talks about growing in an increasingly open love relationship with God. And growing in love with God translates into growing in love toward others. In other words, this book is about fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commandments to love God and our neighbor. Since “all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt 22:40), I believe that if you are going to get only one thing right as a Christian, let it be love. Benner’s book can help you in this regard. In fact, I plan to return to this book again and again for my own encouragement.