Is "good" enough? According to best-selling author and minister John Bevere, "good without God" is not good enough. This is a core message of his new book Good or God?, which made its debut as the No. 1 Bestseller on Amazon's Christian Ministry & Church Leadership List earlier this month.
In 2013, Bevere received a prophetic word that left him on his knees "in awe of the presence of God." That experience led to the writing of his new book, which he calls one of his timeliest and most important messages. In penning his nineteenth book, Bevere went all-out to deliver a Spirit-inspired wake-up call to the church.
Many Christians are settling for something that appears to be good and missing out on God's best, says Bevere, who is best known for his popular book The Bait of Satan. "It's not blatant evil that draws Christians away from God," he says. "It's what seems good."
He draws this principle from Proverbs 14:12, which says there is a way that seems right or good from a human perspective but ends in "the way of death."
He says, "If you look at our world today, you'll see that most people feel pretty confident in their understanding of good. We think, 'Okay, generosity, humility, compassion—good. Selfishness, arrogance, cruelty—not good.' We believe people are basically good at heart. Even our movies and other forms of entertainment celebrate the goodness of humanity."
However, he warns that many Christians are following the world's standard for goodness—or at the very least, bowing to their own understanding. "That so often leads to behavior and beliefs that are, frankly, deadly."
One dangerous belief Bevere says has already crept into the church is, "If it's good, it's from God." Not necessarily. Through an encounter more than 15 years ago—when the seed of this message was first deposited—the Holy Spirit made sure he understood this essential truth.
In the late 1990s, Bevere was in a hotel room in Sweden preparing to speak at a conference of several thousand leaders. "I was processing something regarding a situation I had judged to be good, but as I was in prayer, the Holy Spirit told me, 'No, it's not good,'" he explains, adding that he was so surprised by what God said he almost got into an argument with Him.
"At one point, I protested, 'But God, look at all the good that's come out of this.' That's when God told me something that opened my eyes. He said, 'Son, it wasn't the evil side of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that Eve was attracted to. Eve was attracted to the good side.'"
He immediately opened the Bible to the book of Genesis and read the following in chapter 3: "When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate" (Gen. 3:6, NKJV).
Bevere admits, "I saw the words good, pleasant, and desirable, and my jaw dropped. That's when I heard God say, 'There's a good that is not of Me. It is not submitted to Me.' This experience opened my eyes to the potential disconnect between my understanding of good and God's."
It's a disconnect he says can exist in the life of any believer, and Good or God? is about bridging the gap. In the book, Bevere points to Hebrews 5:14 for an insight into the solution to this problem: only those who possess discernment can accurately identify what's good and what isn't. There's only one source, he says, for a true standard of discernment: God Himself.
"The ultimate call to action in Good or God? is a call to pursue God's presence, which is the highest goal of every believer," says Bevere. "Many of us get distracted by things that are good but ultimately less worthy of our attention: influence, popularity, financial security, even successful ministry."
Good or God? is like a catalyst of "recalibration" for the body of Christ. Bevere explores the topic of healthy personal holiness and how passion for right living stems from an intimate relationship with God. He explains how choosing God over what appears to be "good" enables every believer, by God's grace, to exude joy, fulfillment, and peace. This is a path to embodying righteousness without being judgmental or obsessed with man-made rules.
"When we do this, our lives demand that people stop and ask why we love living in line with something that to them seems restrictive or old-fashioned," says the Good or God? author. "It changes the conversation entirely."
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