Rick James’ latest book A Million Ways to Die: The Only Way to Live is one those books that grabbed my attention with its striking cover image. While the cover may be intriguing, the subject of death is often one we would rather avoid. Throughout this book James encourages the believer to look beyond the final death and resurrection and to embrace the daily opportunities to die. Each of us faces opportunities to die to selfish ambition, ego, pride, fear, reputation, and self-sufficiency.
By examining scripture, historical events, and personal life stories, he points out practical ways in which we can fulfill Jesus command to take up our cross. He points out that only through embracing these little deaths can the believer move from a mere mediocre existence to the vibrant, victorious life Christ came to give us.
The book contains 335 pages that are filled with statements that will cause one to pause and think. Here are a few of those that made me go hmmm.
It’s reflexive for us to declare our belief that God can, but such affirmations can blind us to the ways that we don’t believe. “I believe that God can” is sometimes just a contraction for “I believe that He can, but I doubt that He will.”
We mistake divine ordained hardships for bad luck, bad friends, a bad year, bad breaks, bad government, a bad choice, bad advice, bad genes, bad hair day, and quite naturally we run. A scalpel is just a knife with a medical motive, and if you hold it to my throat in any scenario other than during a operation, I’d be insane not to run.
People don’t fall out of love; they fail to persevere in loving. They choose to stop loving their spouse, or they choose to start loving something else.
According to the author the goal of the book is to “encourage us to pick up our cross and embrace the death implicit in following Jesus Christ”. After reading the book, I had a clearer understanding of the ways life is produce through dying to myself.
From the back cover
Death is the new life. As Christians we talk often about resurrection, but what about our death and the many daily “deaths” that must come first? Through stories and biblical insights, Rick James reminds us that when Jesus tells us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him, He is describing a path of death, not a path to death.
As we learn to embrace the little deaths of everyday existence, we lose our taste for lifeless religiosity. Our appetite for a thriving, vibrant life in Christ grows-and our own experience motivates others to live out their extraordinary missions on earth. As James so vividly illustrates, death is not an ending-invitation to more abundant life.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of the book by B& B Media Group for review purposes. The views and opinions expressed are my own.