A Question on “Jesus Calling”

Question: What’s your view on Sarah Young’s popular devotional Jesus Calling?

Generally speaking, the content of Jesus Calling tends to be encouraging and practical, but like blogger Tim Challies (among others), I am uneasy about the way the readings purport to be directly from Jesus. (The author, I’m sure, is not literally making this claim, but the reading dynamic clearly creates this impression.) This makes the devotional radically different from spiritual resources such as The Imitation of Christ (Thomas à Kempis) and My Utmost for His Highest (Oswald Chambers). The implicit directness as from Jesus creates a patina of authority that transcends human authorship.

This concern is amplified when I find material in the book that does not comport with the teaching style of Jesus. One example is the use of “My Presence” and its variations. Jesus did not use this expression in the way Jesus Calling uses it. In addition, expressions such as “make Me central in your consciousness” (found in one entry) is a contemporary expression that Jesus did not use and would not have used. Once again, the concept is valid, but when it is delivered with the impression of dominical authority, it takes on a more absolute modality.

In summary, I would have preferred that the author frame the content as being from her. Of course, it would not have sold nearly as well; the reason for the virality of this devotional is the practical impression of originating directly from the Lord. Although I am not saying that there can be no benefit gained from the book, I would not personally be comfortable using it.