Books For Getting to the Heart of the Matter

books about living a grace-led life

Have you ever noticed how we can make grace so much more complicated than it is? Or add all sorts of rules to being Christian when the gospel is one of the most simple messages of all time?

Galations 5:1 printable memory verse card
One of my favorite ways to study the Bible is to read books about Jesus. I learn stuff from the authors and read verses in a new light. These are a few of the best books I’ve ever read about letting go of the unimportant stuff in life (busyness, crazy to do lists, unrealistic expectations, Christian culture versus real faith) and focusing on what really matters.

If we live in America, I think we can say amen.

Jesus Is __. by Judah Smith
Jesus Is _________. by Judah Smith

I just finished this book a month ago, and let me tell you… I loved every page. Judah walks through who Jesus is to us and what that means for our daily lives, and he does it in such a funny and easy to read way that I couldn’t put it down. I loved his character studies of the disciples and the people Jesus crossed paths with, his notes as to why each of these interactions was significant for our own lives today, his funny stories about his family, the pop culture references in every chapter, and how he brings it all back to the real message of the gospel.

“God invented happiness. He came up with the concept of humor. He created our ability to have fun. He built a beautiful world and gave us five senses to enjoy it. Our pleasure gives Him pleasure. If we love to be happy, and if we were created in His image, then how much more does God radiate joy?” – Judah Smith

“God is counterculture. God brings good news.” – Judah Smith

Simple Faith by Charles R. Swindoll
Simple Faith by Charles R. Swindoll

Simple Faith isn’t a classic for nothing. Charles Swindoll starts by defining simple faith, then he talks about what that looks like in different areas of our lives. He gives one of the best explanations of “salt and light” that I’ve ever read and hits on topics like simple faith versus the world system, simple faith in our relationships and sharing the gospel, simple faith in conflict, and more. Simple? Simple.

“shake and shine…” – Charles R. Swindoll [Steph, can I seriously get a gold shimmery printable of this to hang in my entryway?]

“By living lives of such simple faith beneath our Father’s sovereign, gracious care, we truly enter into what kingdom living is all about.” – Charles R. Swindoll

I Quit! by Geri Scazzero with Peter Scazzero
I Quit by Geri Scazzero

Back in the day, I helped start a new church campus in New York City. It was an incredible experience, and I look back on those years the way some people look back on their college alma maters with all sorts of nostalgia. But can I be honest with you? As great as that experience was, there came a time when it was just plain exhausting. Because like a lot of well intentioned, passionate people, my relationship with Jesus started to revolve around a whole lot of work.

This is a book I love to recommend to people who find themselves in that same boat. Geri talks about letting go of all of the “shoulds” she felt as a Christian, and embracing a better understanding of God’s love for her and her love for herself. The result? A big ol’ feeling of liberation, a genuine sense of love for the people in her life, and service that flowed more naturally out of those things.

“Jesus invited me into the Christian life to enjoy a rich banquet at His table. Instead, it often felt like I was a galley slave, laboring to serve everyone at the feast instead of enjoying it myself… A renewed understanding of my own dignity and human limits enabled me to place loving boundaries around myself. I soon realized this was central to offering a sincere and genuine gift of love to others. Like God’s love to us, it must be free.” – Geri Scazzero

John 1:16 printable memory verse card(memory verse card alert! right click to save and print)

Quick answer… what do you think of when you hear the words “simple faith” or think of saying “I quit”?



  1. Oooh, I haven’t read any of these! Thank you for the recommends, Kim!
    Have you read “Grace for the Good Girl” by Emily Freeman or “Desiring God” by John Piper? Those are two of my go-tos for ridding myself of guilt.


    1. Cara, “Grace for the Good Girl” has been pretty high on my list since it came out. I love Emily Freeman! I’m working through my big stack of books and hope to get to that one in the next year. I’ve heard “Desiring God” is great, too, but I haven’t read it yet. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the suggestions, girl!


      1. I’m very patient 🙂 glad we are connecting on the blogs in the meantime!
        Looking forward to hearing your thoughts when you do read those books, I love introducing people to my book friends 🙂


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