Gene Edwards has, for a long time, been one of my favorite authors. If you have never read A Tale of Three Kings or The Prisoner in the Third Cell, do yourself a favor and move them to the top of your reading list. Both books are quick reads that will deeply impact your life.
In Living Close to God, Edwards writes of his personal struggle with feeling like a failure at personal devotions and the solution he found. Hint: it wasn’t to try harder to pray and read the Bible. If you have struggled to have a consistent time with the Lord or found that your mind is constantly wandering during prayer and Bible reading, you will benefit from the insights in this book.
Edwards points out the complexity we often bring into our relationship with God when it is really much more simple. He reminds us that, “From the day Jesus was baptized until today, the majority of believers have been illiterate. They could not read. So the solution must be simple.” He asks, “Does a Christian with a college degree stand a better chance of having a meaningful spiritual life than the Christian who cannot read?”
Jesus’ audience was 98 percent illiterate, and He gave no indication that He was planning on a future church filled with an intellectual, spiritually elite group of followers. Jesus’ teachings were consistently simple no matter who was in the audience.
The one thing about this book that I struggled with was Edwards’ view on the spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible study. It seems to me that (on some level) Edwards has dismissed these disciplines as unimportant in the Christian life. I disagree. While I do believe that it is important that we are mindful of the Lord throughout the day, as Edwards encourages, I also believe in the need for dedicated times of focused prayer and Bible study.
I received “Living Close To God: When You’re Not Good At It” by Gene Edwards from Blogging for Books / WaterBrookMultnomah Press in exchange for my review, of which there was no pressure one way or the other regarding how I reviewed it.