Few issues are more important for Christians than understanding who they are in Christ. In a world that continues to entice the Christian to succumb to worldly pleasure recently there have been many books published on the identity of the Christian, and Die Young: Burying Your Self in Christ is one of them. Written by best-selling authors Hayley and Michael Dimarco Die Young is a helpful book that will introduce the Christian to who they are in Christ.
Throughout the book the authors drill deep into the fact that the Gospel turns life upside down by highlighting what results from this: death is the new life; less is the new more; weak is the new strong; slavery is the new freedom. Die Young is written in a warm, engaging pastoral and conversational tone that makes reading this book really easy. This book has seven chapters and only one hundred and sixty three pages.
The only weakness of this book relates to its structure and flow, as throughout the book they have "Here Lies" sections which contain the personal stories of the authors. These personal stories are helpful and instructive but it would have been better if these stories were woven into the material in the book than given separate pages throughout the chapters in the book.
Reading Die Young was helpful for me as it helped me to gain a better understanding of who I am in Christ. Die Young will be helpful to Christian teenagers and adults to understand who they are in Christ and what the life and death of Christ means for those who have given their lives to Him. I recommend reading Die Young by Hayley and Michael Dimarco to be instructed on how a death to self-frees the Christian to live with the fearless love and rock-solid hope that Jesus intends for His people.
Title: Die Young: Burying Your Self in Christ
Authors: Hayley and Michael Dimarco
Publisher: Crossway (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Crossway Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
When I received this book, I had never heard anything about the authors. Now that I have read most of this book, I am glad that I was introduced to them through Crossway Publishers. Michael and Hayley started a company called Hungry Planet, "a company intensely focused on feeding the world's appetite for truth by producing books and new media, taking on issues of faith and life with a distinctly modern voice." (Taken from hungryplanet.net) The company has done a great job of reaching out to the next generation and challenging teens and young people with the truth. If you have time, check out the website and see what they have to offer. Michael and Hayley have truly found where it is God can use them in a great way to impact the world for Christ.
Now back to the book. Die Young, as the front page of the book states, is about burying yourself in Christ. This book goes about explaining what it means to be buried in Christ by talking about how opposite the Christian life truly is from the way the world thinks. The world teaches that we should basically look out for ourselves first and that acquiring everything we can and experiencing everything we can is the way to truly live. However, the way Jesus lived and the way the Bible teaches is the exact opposite of that. Michael and Hayley do a great job of bringing this out. They use chapter titles such as "Less is the new more" and "down is the new up" and one of my personal favorites, "death is the new life." Each chapter takes a portion of Scripture and then looks at it in further detail throughout the chapter. The authors use personal stories throughout to help the reader understand how they have actually experienced and are experiencing through living the way the pages in this book and the Bible challenge us to live. To be a Christian and follower of Christ means we are to "die to self, take up our cross and follow Him."
The life of a Christian is a life of dying. We have so much we are to be dying to: dying to pride, dying to sin, dying to selfishness. You cannot be a follower of Christ without dying to our way of wanting to live and taking on Christ's way of living. It is not possible. Michael and Hayley talk about that and do a great job of helping younger Christians understand more clearly the life of a Christian. No one wants to die young, but to truly live the way Christ intended us to live, we must die young.
This review was short but this book is definitely going to be better for new and young Christians. It is written in such a way that young people would both be able to understand it and be challenged to live it. I am definitely going to recommend this book for any youth in my youth group who want to learn more about the Christian life. Christian young people today could make a huge impact on the world for Christ with the abilities and gifts God has given them and Michael and Hayley Dimarco do a great job in book of presenting the Christian life in a nutshell. So for anyone wanting to find an easy read for their young teen or new Christian to work through after coming to Christ, check out Die Young. You will not be disappointed. You will come away challenged and encouraged to give it all to Christ by burying yourself in Christ. Death is the only way to new life and that death is through Christ.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crossway Publishers in exchange for this review.
When I first agreed to review Die Young by Hayley & Michael DiMarco from Crossway, I thought it was a book about death. In a sence it is a book about death, but not the physical death that the entire human race is cursed with as a result of the Fall. The death we are talking about is the death of self.
When Jesus said, "Take up your cross and follow me daily" (Luke 9:23), He is referring to crucify anything that does not yield to God. The DiMarcos write, God wants you to die young. He wants you to take up your cross and follow him. He wants you to deny yourself, to say "no" to promptings of your flesh and of this world and "yes" to the promptings of His Spirit.
This was an easy to read book. In fact, I feel this is a good book for new believers because it is a book that calls you to die and not make it self-centered which some new believer material can get at times.
There is so much about the Christian life that is up-side-down. In Die Young: Burying Your Self in Christ, the DiMarco's have done a fabulous job helping us understand the up-side-downness of the gospel--and how it give us joy and hope for growth in our day-to-day walk with God.
One of my favorite things about this book are the "Here Lies" sections. Peppered throughout the book are stories--confessions, really--of Micheal and Hayley's journey of dying to self. They share some deep, honest past and current struggles. I appreciate that. Their stories give me courage to live out my own sin-stained story, and to strive for more of this dying-life.
In Die Young, you will receive practical truths for our journey of sanctification and the fight against our flesh--the left-over old self in us that craves to do what is against God.
Here is a peek at all this book holds:
Death is the new life.
"There is a death that comes that isn't meant to destroy you but to destroy that in you which was never meant to replace the hand of God in your life."
Down is the new up.
"...it takes a strong redirecting of our minds to put us back on thinking more like sinners saved by grace than royalty destined for only the best of things."
Less is the new more.
"...the less we treasure, cherish, and worship here in earth, the more our hearts yearn for the things of heaven, that is, God and his will."
Weak is the new strong.
"As you come to accept the things you can't do, you learn to rely on the One who can."
Slavery is the new freedom.
"The self that we all have can either be an empty vessel ready to accept the life of Christ into it, a temple to his holy Spirit, or it can be occupied with more human things--self-will, self-effort, self-dependance, self-esteem, self-importance. All of these focus on the little god inside of us rather than the true God above us."
Confession is the new innocence.
"When you die young you are honest about sin because you care less about your own life and standing than you do about God and his standing."
Red is the new white.
"To belabor your sinfulness is to ignore the blood that cleanses you from all unrighteousness. When we die young we die to our right to hold onto the memory of our sins..."
First I do want to give credit to Michael and Hayley Dimarco for the premise of this book. I think the ideas that they are trying to convey are needed in today's Church. We are so enamored by life that, at times, we forget the basis of our faith, which is dying to the flesh so that we may live for Christ. I was honored to be able to receive an advanced proof of this book, and to share my honest opinions.
One really good chapter that was in this book was entitled "Less is the New More". The focus of this chapter was the tendency for all of us to fall into covetousness. This is a major struggle I think for everyone. In this chapter the Dimarco's make some excellent points. One point they make is if we are not caught up in more we are better able to give that which we do have. There are many other great points to this chapter, but again my job is to draw you to read the book, not tell you everything it says! Ultimately, and I believe this is a point the Dimarco's make fairly well, covetousness is choosing an idol over our LORD Jesus Christ.
However, I am going to address a very common flaw I find in people who love to mention Mark 10:25. For those of you who are not familiar with this verse it states: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." In this section of Chapter 3 (Dimarco 94) they almost argue that you have more faith if you have fewer possessions. Although I agree, that there are wealthy people who feel as if there is no need for Christ, I'm blessed to know many wealthy people who use their wealth to further the gospel of Jesus Christ. People who will reach out to those in need, not to have their name praised by men, but people who give in secret and who will receive their reward on the day of the Bema judgment. These people should not be ignored or forgotten because many of them have simply chosen to be good stewards of that which the LORD has blessed them with.
Another great chapter is chapter 4 which is "Weakness is the New Strength". Again this chapter was very easy to read, and started off with a good illustration of the fact that since the creation of man we all have pursued strength. It continues with the example of the tower of Babel, Satan, and even Peter, who, until after the resurrection of Christ, often tried to attain in his own strength. This chapter had great flow, and was a chapter that challenged me and yet also encouraged me.
Now, I need to give some of the problems I see with this book. This book is not for someone looking for an easy read. The reading of this book was rather challenging. I wish it was due to content, but really it was related to flow. Until I got to about chapter 2 I had a very hard time even following the flow that Michael and Hayley were trying to develop. Another major set-back to this book was the constant inserting of "Here Lies_" I am a huge believer in being personal in the way you write, and sharing your struggles and set-backs as well as your victories, however, this caused me a lot of frustration as it didn't work with the flow that they were already having a problem developing. I think what they shared was great, and ultimately I just waited until I finished the book to read those entries.
I also noticed some things that made me sit back and scratch my head wondering what they meant. For example, in Chapter 1 the Dimarco's write "Death threatens a part of you, if not all of you (Dimarco 26)." Last time I checked death was always a threat to the whole and not to just a part. Especially in the topic of dying to our flesh, our whole flesh needs to be dying so that we might walk in the newness of life that is found in Christ Jesus. Then in Chapter 2 they have a paragraph that starts, "In our squalifies us from the fight; it means we've love, we've been taken down, and they've won (44)." I don't even know where to begin on this as when I looked up squalifies in the dictionary I couldn't find a result.
For me, I am going to have to rate this book a 2.5 to maybe a 3. Since this is an advanced proof it is my hope that they go through and are able to clean up the flow, and make it a little easier for the reader to follow. As I said to begin with I think the premise to this book is great, and with some cleaning up I think this would truly be a good book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."