I wasn’t too far into the pages of Bill Tell’s new book, Lay it Down: Living in the Freedom of the Gospel, before I knew that what I held in my hands was a gem. Tell’s book is liberating for everyone who has ever felt like a ragamuffin Christian–never good enough, never faithful enough, and never fully forgiven.
The book’s introduction lets readers in on the key idea the author is putting forward in his book.
“This book is about freedom,” says Tell, “about allowing the freedom Jesus died to give us to transform our lives” (xv).
Freedom is something that Tell experienced after trekking through a dark night of the soul, an experience he recounts in Lay it Down. Tell, former Vice President of The Navigators, landed in counseling after experiencing panic attacks and depression. It was through counseling that Tell came to fully understand the grace and freedom that Jesus offers to Christians.
Lay it Down chronicles Tell’s journey to emotional and spiritual freedom, showing readers that we can truly be free and loved when we accept that we are not condemned or unworthy because Christ has paid the price to redeem us.
“We have been set free from all that holds us captive so that we can live every day in freedom,” says Tell (39). “When we punish ourselves [for our sins] we are rejecting the gospel because we feel we need to pay the price for our sins” (80).
Pointing directly to Scripture passages and referencing theologians to expound upon his claims, Tell strengthens his book both by making solid arguments for the grace of God and by responding to common beliefs people have when accepting the grace and freedom God offers.
Liberating, well-written, and heartfelt, Lay it Down is a book written by someone who knows what it feels like to traverse caverns of darkness and the pain of mental and spiritual brokenness. If you’ve ever wondered if God’s forgiveness and love is enough to make you valuable and wholly forgiven, Lay it Down is for you.
Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a copy of Lay it Down in exchange for my honest review.