One of the greatest needs in the Church, today is raw-honesty. Not over the top honesty but real honesty about where we’re at in the Christian life. No, I’m not talking about a biography or even a testimony. Instead, I’m talking about what we’ve learned in our lives as we’ve read, study, and meditate on the Scriptures and God by His Spirit teaches us from His Word as He said He would. He also in this process uses other gifted teachers and writers to instruct His people. This is why I enjoyed Matt Papa’s new book Look and Live Behold The Soul-Thrilling, Sin-Destroying Glory of Christ. Matt is an artist I enjoy listening to regularly. In fact, as I write this review, I’m listening to one of his songs.
Matt’s book isn’t only about his personal story but also about his encounter with the glory of God in the person and work of Christ. Matt has been in ministry a long time, and during one period of his ministry he was facing burnout, depression, and an addiction to the approval of others. This book helps readers to get their focus off of their circumstances, and onto God. It’s one thing to say we’re God-centered in theory but it’s another thing entirely to be God-centered in practice. This book walks us through the Bible’s teaching on being truly God-centered in our knowledge and in our practice. It’s this combination that makes this book a powerful antidote that will help Christians to face trials head on by His grace. The book has nine chapters that look at glory, worship, the glory of God, sin, the cross of Christ, mission, suffering, and more.
While the whole book is very helpful, I enjoyed chapter five and eight the most. In chapter five, Matt explains that, “We grow in Christ not by moving past the gospel, but by gazing deeper into it” (113). It’s been said that the gospel is a multifaceted diamond. Matt wants us to gaze at the gospel. He wants us to think hard about the work of Christ in our lives. Doing so will result in God’s people having their affections stirred and their lives transformed by the glorious gospel of God’s grace. Matt explains, “The call is to behold the Son of God, not merely look at Him. It is to gaze deep into the gospel, not merely pray some prayer and then move on. We must linger. Christianity is the hard, joyful journey of beholding Jesus by faith until the day you behold Him by sight” (119). Matt’s point is that to be truly God-centered is to be focused on God in our knowledge and in our daily lives. To do so, he says we must “fix our eyes on Jesus” (119). As the author notes in this chapter we need a new regular diet of Bible reading, prayer, and regularly church attendance where we each week and year, sit under the teaching of the Word of God.
Maybe you’re like me and you long ago decided that walking through the routine isn’t enough. Instead of walking through the routine, God invites to Himself, for Himself in order to be transformed into His likeness. This is the exciting adventure that God has called us to in Christ. He calls us to Himself, to community with other Christians, for the purpose of sitting under godly biblical teaching that exalts the Son, and causes His people to look and behold Him all the more. This excellent book will help you to not only look and behold Christ but will be a means the Lord will use to help you worship Him in all of life. Look and Live is a book for every Christian. I highly recommend it and pray the Lord would use it to shake off your apathy and help you to become focused not just in theory but in practice on God.
Author: Matt Papa
Publisher: Bethany House
I received this book for free from Bethany House for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”