Book review: Jesus Calling

Book cover for Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

In 2018, I added a daily reading to my morning routine. I read The Daily Stoic, which had a short passage by an ancient Greek or Roman Stoic philosopher, followed by a written summary that provided more insight into the passage. It was similar to a daily devotional, although it was more secular than spiritual in nature.

For 2019, I decided to read a ‘true’ daily devotional. I’ve always wanted to read, learn, and understand more about The Bible, and a devotional seemed like a good way to get started. I chose Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which was recommended to me by a close business associate.

The format of Jesus Calling felt very similar to The Daily Stoic. Young starts each day’s passage with a short passage, and then follows with 3-4 biblical verses that ties into her message. Each passage is written as if Jesus is talking to you, which is by design. It’s meant to help you understand that God is always present and with us, in any and every situation.

For where I am in my spiritual development, which I would classify as just starting, Jesus Calling was perfect. It is a great way to get acquainted with the messages and various books of The Bible. Young takes passages from the both the Old and New Testaments, which leads to a deeper understanding of The Bible and how the messages of both Testaments tie together.

My only critique of the book is how Young cuts out verses to support her messages. I’m not one for scissor cutting verses from The Bible as I’m a heavy believer in context. Instead of only reading each verse, I read the chapters around each verse. Not only did I appreciate the message behind each verse better, I also read more and learned about parts of The Bible which I had not read nor been exposed to. It was great to see the messages contained in the Old Testament books, particularly Psalms and Proverbs. I also enjoyed reading the teachings of Jesus and the writings of Paul, both of which are timeless treasures and contain important lessons that everyone can put to work to live a better, fuller and more enriching life. From what I’ve seen, the messages in these writings form the basis for most of the personal development books I’ve read. These books are effectively biblical teachings packaged in secular writings.

I enjoyed Jesus Calling and would highly recommend it to anyone who is just starting out on or early in their spiritual journey. I would liken it to riding a bike with training wheels. It’s a great way to start you on your spiritual journey and prepares you to explore more on your own. I know it revealed a lot of important messages for me that will provide a foundation I can build upon. Perhaps most importantly, it helped me start a daily habit of reading scripture. So while we may not want or like using training wheels, we all have to start somewhere. Jesus Calling is certainly as good a way as any to get started.