Why I Wrote Another Book
C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity wrote, “Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups—playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits, so that the pretense of being grown-ups helps them to grow up in earnest.”1
Serving in ministry for more than thirty-five years, I have reveled in being on the front lines of the local church. I have witnessed thousands of people hand their lives over to Jesus Christ, trusting in Him as their Lord and Savior. I have seen with my own eyes the miraculous transaction that takes place when someone crosses from darkness into light, from lies to truth, and from death to life.
And then I watched many of them drift away.
Their glide away from God occurred due to various reasons. In Matthew 13 Jesus told us this might happen. He said that the gospel will take root in some people; in others, it will not. I believe every word Jesus ever said, but I have to admit that this passage troubles me. Why can’t every person who believes remain?
The answers lie within the parable itself and Jesus’ explanation of it. He not only shared the parable, (you can read it here) He revealed its meaning. Allow me to sum it up: the farmer is the proclaimer of God’s truth, the seed is the gospel, and the soil is the human heart.
Jesus said that some people will receive the Word resistantly; they will not be willing to ask questions, delve deeper, and are is disinclined to hear and take it all in. This is the fool, who in Psalms 14:1, says there is no God—the one who makes a soul-destroying decision.
Others hear the gospel and exclaim, “This is the best news ever! Count me in; where do I sign up?” With the receiving of the gospel, however, there must also come a commitment. Without a commitment to Jesus, the person’s faith initially springs up and gets off to a good start, but he never counts the cost or considers the gospel anything more than a fire escape from hell.
Christianity is costly. It has cost countless millions their jobs, their loved ones, their reputations, their friendships, and in many cases, their lives. For this person, however, when the pressure came, it was discovered there was no root system.
Some hear the Word with a receptive attitude but other things—the riches, snares, and cares of this world—are too compelling and enticing. I’ve seen this happen too many times. The soil looks very good. There was a desperate call to Christ for salvation, but it wasn’t all turned over to Him. There was never a complete 180-degree turn, never a full repentance of turning from self and turning fully to Christ. It’s the story of the double-minded man the apostle James writes about—the one trying to serve both God and money, for example, but the deceitfulness of materialism and riches was too strong a pull.
The last category of soil is the hopeful part of all of this. “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:23, ESV)
This is the fruit-bearing life, the life that understands, and having fully repented and turning to Christ, accepts the Word. The good soil person hears it, accepts it, holds it, and takes the gospel in. There is a genuine repentance. There’s a genuine plowing of the Spirit of God in the heart, killing all those noxious weeds of a former life. And there’s some deep soil there instead of a rock bed of selfish resistance. The fruit then follows.
Every Christian will bear some fruit, but not every Christian will produce the same amount of fruit. However, we all produce fruit. That’s a distinguishing mark of Christ-followers.
Why have I written Your Greatest Adventure? It’s because I’ve known men and women who fell away from their faith, possibly because no one ever took the time to come alongside of them, walking them through the initial phases of their Christian life. It’s my hope that this book might do that.
Each chapter covers an area of our shared faith that is vitally important. I endeavor to explain it in an understandable manner and provide some applications which might serve to get folks started out strong on their spiritual journey.
It is my prayer that as this book goes forth, that Christians young and old, will understand the theology and concepts of a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and that they will flourish in their newfound faith.
You can purchase the book on Amazon here.
— Jeff Cranston
P.S. If you're wondering why this is another book because you don't know my first one, you can check that out here. It's called "Happily Ever After: A Study in the Beatitudes."
1 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. (New York: Macmillan, 1952), p.161.