CJ Manhaney actually wrote a previous version of this book back in 2002 called, The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing. This one is the updated version released in 2006. Both are great, but I would recommend this version over the original. CJ is leader of Sovereign Grace Ministries which helps to establish and support local churches. He served as pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD for 27 years.
I remember the first time I read this book, I didn’t get it. There were some things he said that resonated with me, but I honestly thought he was putting way too much focus on the gospel. At the time, I felt it was the attributes of God we needed to focus on to live a victorious Christian life. And don’t get me wrong, we still need to study the attributes of God to enlarge our vision and grow our faith. But if I only look to God the father, I’m missing his most important work. His attributes should lead me to the cross.
Then about 4 years ago, I reread his book and the light bulb went on! God had brought me to the place in my walk to finally understand. So what is the book about? CJ in the first chapter starts off with the following, “Each of our lives is centered on something. What’s at the center of yours?” Pause for a moment, what do you constantly think about? What is most important to you? What defines you? He answers that question with what it should be, “If there’s anything in life we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel. And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others; I mean passionate in thinking about the gospel, reflecting upon it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world and all of life.”
Some of his other chapters touch on why the gospel deserves our full attention. He has chapters on escaping the performance trap, not living by your emotions and practical ways to focus on the cross. This gem of a book is small, easy to read and full of deep truths. I highly recommend it. I’m sure I will periodically reread this one, it’s that good.
Some of you reading this post will totally understand my emphasis on the gospel, some of you will not. For those of you who may not get it, just like myself some years ago, don’t give up on this site. For those of you who understand my obsession with the gospel, I hope you will be reminded and encouraged by my posts. So let’s all keep digging together to uncover the many treasures of the gospel.