Rusty George has just released a new book called When You, Then God: 7 Things God is Waiting to Do in Your Life. I caught up with Rusty recently to discuss his new book.
Instead of asking, “what is your book about,” I’m going to ask the question that’s behind that question. And that unspoken question is, “how are readers going to benefit from reading your book?”
Rusty George: I believe that people will feel the freedom to see the Bible as more than dos and don’ts and see it as an invitation for God to move in their lives to change them and the world around them.
Tell us a bit about the experiences that shaped the insights in the book.
Rusty George: I grew up in a fairly legalistic church and along the way developed a view of the Bible as a manual on how to somehow stay out of hell. That, coupled with being a rule follower and a list maker, set me up for a life of trying to make God happy. Unfortunately, it caused me to just resent God. After years of Bible college, seminary, and ministry, I realized one day that I didn’t love God . . . and I was convinced he didn’t love me. He couldn’t. I hadn’t accomplished everything his Word told me to do. This sent me on a journey to rediscover my faith.
Some people teach that salvation is free, but God’s blessing requires obedience. Do you agree with this idea? Please support your answer biblically.
Rusty George: I do. It seems to be what Paul is saying in Ephesians 2 when he says we were saved by grace, FOR good works. In my mind this was the turning point for me. For years I knew I was saved by grace, but I just didn’t know what to do with the works. If they don’t save me, then what’s the point? But understanding these good works as an invitation from God to partner with him changed everything. We are not saved by good works, but for good works. And these good works have been prepared in advance for us to do. The beauty of these works is that they are in partnership with God and come with an enormity of blessings.
Briefly share the 7 things that you believe God is waiting to do in our lives?
Rusty George: When you trust God’s love . . . then God will invite you to partner with him. When you walk with Jesus . . . then God will help you look like Jesus. When you show others kindness . . . then God will show them grace. When you invest in God’s Kingdom . . . then God will invest in yours. When you relax . . . then God will guide you. When you notice God . . . then God will reveal his presence. When you place your hope in God . . . then God will give you hope.
What do you say to the person who suggests you’re teaching that God is obligated to act if we do certain things?
Rusty George: I’m not saying anything that God isn’t. Time and time again he tells his people that when they do one thing, then he’ll do another. So he doesn’t appear to be concerned by the obligation.
In your circles, what do you see more of in the Christian world? Legalistic people (those trying to make God happy by their conduct and harshly judging others who don’t follow their personal standards of conviction) or libertarian people (those who use grace as a justification for living in the flesh)?
Rusty George: In my circles it has always been legalism. There is something enticing about it because it helps us keep score. We can see how we measure up against each other. The problem is we don’t measure up very well with God. This leaves us exhausted, depressed, and missing out on grace because it seems too good to be true.
What do you hope readers will walk away with after they finish your book?
Rusty George: That God really does love them and wants to partner with them to change the world around them and within them.