If Andy Stanley has written a lousy book I have yet to read it! Louder Than Words is a contemporary call to pursuing a “life with no regrets.” For Stanley, the plumb line against which all else is measured is God’s Word – the Bible. He clearly identifies his firm belief that the Bible provides us with an absolute standard of right and wrong. Basing your character on that standard is the key.
Notice that there are two essential ingredients for character. First, character demands a commitment to do what is right in spite of what it might cost us personally….Second. we must acknowledge that there is an absolute standard of right and wrong – one that exists independent of our own emotions, experiences, or desires. This standard is a permanent, unwavering benchmark by which we can measure our choices. p.31
You may not like the idea of absolutes and prefer to approach life situationally by applying a wide range of standards to each situation. To me that seems like an incredible waste of time – trying to apply ever-changing standards to every different situation. How does that really work? It’s okay to speed 5-10 mph over the limit but more than that is wrong? It’s okay to keep a little extra change that the clerk mistakenly gave you but stealing $100 from the tip jar is wrong? How do you decide how much is okay?
For the committed follower of Jesus there is a deep desire to develop character that honors God and imitates Jesus. For most of us the struggle comes in figuring out how that works. According to Stanley it happens through the process of renewing your mind. His comments here were very pointed:
Putting on the new often entails taking a different approach to the Bible. Finding the scriptural truths that apply to your particular situation will require some effort. And that means moving beyond a devotional approach to Scripture. It could mean opening your Bible on a daily basis for the first time. You will never renew your mind reading a couple of pages out of a devotional book and praying a prayer. Renewing your mind involves more than simply reading through the Bible in a year or answering your Bible study questions or filling out a workbook. p. 114
Are you tired? Tired of the comfortable and routine way in which we pursue Christian discipleship? I am. We are so content to show up and get our frequent attender card punched. We want to sing the familiar songs, hear a familiar translation, and takes note on a comfortable message that doesn’t push us outside of our comfortable seats, comfortable cars, comfortable homes, or comfortable vacations. How will our minds ever get renewed?
It’s kind of like having gym membership. You show up every week – maybe a few times every week – dressed for a workout but instead you just sit and watch other people workout or just watch workout videos! Why even have the gym membership in the first place if you are not going to use that time to work on renewing your body?
It’s time that we who claim to love and follow Jesus do so in such a way that our lives are transformed.
Louder Than Words will give you practical insights into developing godly character and having a life with no regrets.