A Deeper Sort of Devotional
Words are powerful. They contain ideas and shape the way we see God, ourselves and all of reality. We're transformed, in particular, by God's Word, and by "the Word," the Logos—Jesus himself—as described by John in the first chapter of his Gospel.
Memorizing and studying a passage in depth can offer a deeper sense of the meaning of each word. In this unique introduction to the hidden life in Christ, James Bryan Smith walks readers through a thirty-day immersion in Colossians 3:1-17. Each of the thirty short chapters of this book bring out the main truth of just one word or phrase of this rich passage. You'll also find a very simple daily practice to take up, reflection questions and a guide for five weeks of group discussion.
The chapters are short in length, making this book an ideal daily devotional. Since there are thirty chapters, it could be used for a one-month introduction to the hidden life in Christ. Though brief in terms of length, each chapter tries to unearth some very deep truths. For those who have read and practiced the exercises in the Apprentice series, this book will be a helpful refresher as you continue your sacred journey.
Each chapter also contains an exercise or practice ("Living into the Truth"), as well as an affirmation that summarizes the main point of the chapter and a written prayer designed to move you deeper into the truths of the Word. In addition, each chapter concludes with a few reflection questions that can be used either by individuals or in a group discussion.
The only way to tell a story is to use words. May the words of Colossians 3 become a companion to you as God continues to write your story.
"Much of our spirituality is a mile long and an inch deep. James Bryan Smith helps us go deeper. This book is based on one chapter of the Bible, and it is a dazzling one. On these pages, you'll find a countercultural invitation—an affront to the self-centered world of self-help books, blessing-obsessed televangelists and fluffy motivational messages. Here is an invitation to die to live, to find your life by giving it away. It's a smooth, easy-to-read book, but underneath it all is a radical message about reorienting our lives so that we look more like Jesus—and thereby interrupt the patterns of inequity and injustice that plague our world."
"What a wonderful, life-giving book! Each chapter is a bite-sized morsel of substantive spiritual food that will nourish your life in Christ."
"The third chapter of Colossians is one of the supreme passages in Scripture, brimming as it does with life-giving realities. Hidden in Christ can serve as a kind of midwife to help bring these realities to birth within us."
"Jim Smith probes the great mystery of where our true life lies. He walks us through one of the great passages in all of Scripture so we may discover the life that is hidden only to be found."
"Highly recommended for a transformational 30 days. Repeat often."
"Smith's clear, thoughtful and pertinent engagement with the text strikes a careful balance of personal anecdotes, insights into spiritual formation and exposition of the biblical text. . . . This book will serve pastors, ministry leaders and small groups in their journey toward understanding not only this passage, but the Christian story as a whole."
"This is a beautiful book, perfect for busy and tired nurses. . . . This small book is ideal as a daily devotional or for a group discussion with other nurses. A small group of nurses at work or the university could easily share insights from a chapter in a brief discussion group."
"This book is similar to an inductive study, as Smith breaks down every word or phrase in the passage. He successfully keeps the book engaging by sharing personal experiences, while still including biblical studies. . . . the book is well organized, thought provoking, and insightful."
"The pocket-size book is a convenient resource to carry, consult and meditate on throughout the day. . . . Hidden in Christ will undoubtedly help readers with a Christian foundation find faith-enriching direction and challenging disciplines for their spiritual journey."
"With today's emphasis on speed and covering the most amount of territory in the least amount of time, it may be challenging to thoughtfully focus on a single chapter of the Bible for a whole month. But try it! It can be a wonderfully enriching experience. A beautiful chapter to explore is Colossians 3—and an excellent study guide for that chapter is Hidden in Christ."