I first heard of the book when it was being used as an on air devotion for a local Christian radio station a few years ago. As I heard it read out loud, it made me uncomfortable. It read like a special revelation, but it wasn’t Scripture. So, I dismissed it as a fad and moved on. However, over the last few years, it has gained a large following, and many people are now reading it replacing their time in the Bible with devotional thoughts.
There are many books out there to help you understand Scripture or even to encourage you in your reading of Scripture. Jesus Calling isn’t this type of devotional book. I say that because the reason Sarah wrote the book is of utmost importance. She is not writing to help you understand the Bible; instead, she claims to be writing down the words that God gives her in times of being in His presence. She considers these to be God’s words to her, and she is passing them on to you.
Each devotion is written as if Jesus is talking directly to you through this book. That in and of itself is one of the most alarming characteristics that I encountered as I read through it.
But, her attempt to dismiss the charge of claiming personal revelation is what causes me to encourage you to find another devotional book. In her book she writes:
” I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day. I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believe He was saying.” (Jesus Calling, Introduction)
Sarah needed more from God than He gave her in the Bible.
Sarah goes on to say to say that she is trying to put into practice what she has heard from other great leaders of the church. But, none of the authors or leaders she quotes have ever written a book from the perspective of Jesus and then tried to affirm it with passages of scripture to support their words.
I know that you may like her books. I am aware that it may be encouraging to you in the morning or the evening. But, in the long run, I fear that you may be shaped more by her words than the actual Word of God itself. What Sarah writes is not from God, if she claimed that (which she doesn’t) she would be a false prophet. More than anything Sarah seems somewhat confused as she introduces her writings. She knows better than to claim special revelation from the Lord, but then she pens a book like it is directly from Jesus to you.
Her motives may be to encourage her readers, but when Scripture takes a backseat to her pen, it is cause for concern, and ultimately to find another source for a daily devotional. Each of us yearns for a deep abiding walk with the Lord. Every Christian desires intimate communion with God through prayer, meditation, and the Word. Jesus is calling, but He is calling through His Word, and my encouragement is to delve into the Bible and use devotions as helpful aids in understanding and living for the Lord.
Rob Armstrong, Pastor