Book Review: Firsthand: Ditching secondhand religion for a faith of your own, by Ryan & Josh Shook
What do you do when you’ve seemingly outgrown your faith? How do you move from something your parents believe to a faith that you own? What do you do when nothing at church satisfies the inner spiritual hunger that gnaws at you? How do you develop a relationship with Christ when it seems like all you do is go through the motions, check off the list, and keep up religious appearances?
These are the questions posed by brothers Ryan and Josh Shook in their new book, Firsthand. Their goal is to help people form a faith that is unique and every bit a person’s own; a relationship that is alive and growing rather than a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach to religion.
The authors suggest several helpful principles in developing this kind of faith.
- Acknowledge your emptiness and ask God to fill you with himself.
- Stop hiding secret sins and find a friend you can open up to about your struggles.
- Allow your faith to transform your life.
- Get rid of your religious checklist and focus on developing a relationship with Jesus.
- Use your doubts to fuel a search for the truth.
- Step outside your comfort zone and allow God to stretch your faith.
- Join a community where you can find encouragement and accountability.
The authors are open and honest about their own struggles in pursuing a firsthand faith. This helps make their principles and suggestions real instead of someone else’s theories. They include interviews from a wide range of people which helps to illustrate both the real-life struggles as well as the solutions. Each chapter ends with several quotes from individuals on the topic, questions to ask in going deeper, and helpful suggestions as to what to do next.
The book would be a helpful volume for those serving in youth ministry, as it will help them better understand how to prepare their students for moving into adulthood. It would also be a helpful gift for a college student wrestling with their own questions and about faith.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.