Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Review: Altar Ego

 

Craig Groeschel has recently released Altar Ego. It’s a phenomenal step by step guide on stepping out of our fallen sinful identities and stepping into a life guided by the Holy Spirit and subject to the will of God. It’s well written, biblically sound, and highly relevant for both new and established Christians.

“You are not yet who you are supposed to be.”, explains Groeschel. To further us along the path of Christian discipleship, Groeschel breaks down his transformation plan into three parts:

  • Accepting the persona of a disciple
  • Adopting the behaviors of a disciple
  • Embracing the power of a disciple

To accept the persona of a disciple is to accept the truths regarding who we are as God’s people. It is the act of overcoming the labels and self-identified traits of old personas. Groeschel explains that every follower of Christ will have their own unique unexplored identities under a new life in Christ. Just as God transformed Abram into Abraham and Saul into Paul bringing out qualities they never knew they had, he will transform us also. Additionally, we can hold strong in the shared truth common to all disciples: we are masterpieces loved by God who can overcome tremendous obstacles and who have been designated as ambassador’s of Christ.

“Stop focusing on the things you can’t do. Turn your attention to the things you can do. You are the masterpiece of God, created for the Master’s purpose. Don’t flip through the catalog of things you aren’t, wishing you could order a few nice things for yourself.”

“Hupernikao, which means to vanquish beyond recognition, to gain a decisive victory, to conquer exceedingly. With Christ, you are HUPERNIKAO! You are not just going to eke out some tiny, insignificant victory.”

“As Christ’s ambassador you never represent yourself; you always represent God…I’m not there to promote my own agenda, my own values or my own ideas… You represent the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.”

According to Groeschel, adopting the behaviors of the disciple include a dedicated focus on patience, integrity, honor, and gratitude. Groeschel’s guidance is sound and biblically grounded, especially in his insistence that we cannot simply flip a switch and easily turn ourselves into patient, honest, honorable, grateful sorts of persons. The *only* way to bear this fruit is to get to know Jesus better, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform our heart.

“Get rid of the masks. Be the real you. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to transform you.”

Embracing the power of a disciple is to approach everything we do – our prayers, our words, our actions-  with the boldness of our power in Christ. As it is written in scripture, who can stand against us when God is behind us? Being bold and confident is not an end unto itself, nor an action we take in order to be better disciples. Rather, it’s the natural outcome of following in step with Christ.

“When you live a life of faith, when you’re directed by the Spirit, you’re going to see opportunity after opportunity to be bold…As your faith grows, so does your boldness.”

Groeschel concludes his book with a blessing (and call to action):

“I’m praying that God will use the words from this book to help you to sacrifice any old, unhealthy, untrue, and unbiblical thoughts about yourself. And that God will introduce you to your altar ego- who you are in Christ. Because when you know who you are, you’ll know what to do. Empowered by Christ in you, you can now live a life full of integrity…And as your confidence in your new Christ-esteem grows, so will your boldness. Because you know Christ, you’ll pray bold prayer, speak bold words, and obey God boldly. You’ll never be timid again because bold actions are born of bold beliefs.”

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