Cruciform Press‘s July release, Licensed to Kill by Brian G. Hedges, is one of those books that makes you incredibly uncomfortable as you read it. But that is the nature of any text on the mortification of sin – you have to deal with your sin – and that single reality is the very strength of this book.
Everything in me wanted to read this little book quickly, and yet as I slowed down and allowed the book to speak of sin at a much more intimate level – to not deal with “sin” as a general failure and offense to God, but to speak of my sin and my offenses – the book became less academic in it’s presentation and more significantly more personal. And that gets uncomfortable in a hurry, because dealing with my sin is so much more than just about behavior.
If we want to kill sin, we must aim at the right target. That target is not merely bad behavior but the sinful desires of the heart that produce the behavior.
While many books and teachings hope to deal with sin at a completely behavioral level, Licensed to Kill seeks to put the sin to death that lurks down deep in our heart’s desires – in my heart’s desires. And that differentiating point sets this book apart from those merely seeking outward change.
Our affections, then, are to be set on Christ himself. We are empowered for holiness when we fill our minds and hearts with the glories of who Jesus is, what he has done for us, and all that he has purchased for us.
As Christians, the manner in which we pursue sanctification matters. While at times it seems that our options are limited to legalism or licentiousness, this book opens up a dramatically more powerful (and more profound) course of action.
We can kill sin only when we cultivate the virtues of Christ and the graces of the Spirit in sin’s place.
Next time you’re ready to get uncomfortable and allow yourself to search your heart’s desires in the pursuit of holiness, I highly recommend you grab this book and hang on. Don’t put it down when it gets uncomfortable – that’s when you know it’s working.