Should You Run From Jesus Always?

The following is a sample chapter from the "RUN! It's Jesus Calling" book.


Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. - 1 John 4:1

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. – Matthew 7:15 (ESV)

Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. – Acts 17:11

Jesus Calling - Wrong WaySeveral years ago a woman came to me and asked about a book called Jesus Calling®. I am the head of an apologetics and evangelism ministry and I get a lot of questions. But, I had never heard of this book. So, I borrowed her copy and started reading random devotions. I hadn’t read very many before I was repulsed by what I was reading. This book was written as though Jesus was speaking everything in the book, and this was not the Jesus I knew from scripture!

Since then I've lost count of the number of people who have asked me about Jesus Calling. I've reached the point at which, instead of covering the same ground over and over, I thought it best to write it down and create a book I could just hand to people. This is that book.

What is Jesus Calling?

Jesus Calling is a devotional book written by Sarah Young that was first published in 2004. I'll let the publisher describe this book:

“Sarah Young’s devotional writings are personal reflections from her daily quiet time of Bible reading, praying, and writing in prayer journals. With sales of more than 14 million books worldwide, Jesus Calling® has appeared on all major bestseller lists. Sarah’s writings include Jesus Calling®, Jesus Today?® Jesus Lives™, Dear Jesus, Jesus Calling® for Little Ones, Jesus Calling® Bible Storybook, Jesus Calling®: 365 Devotions for Kids, and Peace in His Presence—each encouraging readers in their journey toward intimacy with Christ. Sarah and her husband were missionaries in Japan and Australia for many years. They currently live in the United States.” - On line Promotional blurb by the publisher of Jesus Calling, Thomas Nelson (

Many of you may be familiar with Jesus Calling, and a large number of you have probably read at least part of it. However, for those of you who have never heard of Jesus Calling, this introduction is for you. It provides a short overview of the Jesus Calling devotional.

As you start reading Jesus Calling you’ll immediately notice that the devotions are written in the first person, with Jesus speaking. Here is a random example – January 10th:

“EVERY TIME YOU AFFIRM YOUR TRUST IN ME, you put a coin into My treasury.” - Jesus Calling, January 10th, The 10th Anniversary Edition, page 11 (capitalization as in the original).

Who is “ME in the above quote?” That's Jesus speaking. Jesus Calling is written as though Jesus is speaking directly to you. This makes it a very different type of devotional book and, as you'll learn by reading this book, it also results in quite a few problems.

A second characteristic of Jesus Calling is that it uses Christian words and language in a way that makes it sound very Christian. But, in many cases what it says is so vague that the reader can easily read into it whatever they happen to be thinking. And when there is a discernable meaning, it frequently is not in accordance with what scripture teaches. The result is vague and unbiblical teaching coming from the lips of Jesus, but it is worded such that on the surface it appears to be good Christian teaching.

A third characteristic of the Jesus Calling devotions is that they are based on “messages” the author “believes” she received from Jesus as a result of her asking Jesus to guide her thoughts. This type of experience is similar to New Age practices used to receive spiritual messages. Combine this with the devotions being spoken by “Jesus”, and you have a book that has given itself a very high level of perceived authority... after all, these are words directly from “Jesus.”

Add this all together and what we have in Jesus Calling, is a “devotional” that is unlike any other Christian devotional. Jesus is speaking to you using Christian words and phrases, but what he says is often not scriptural, or is so indefinite that the reader can make it mean whatever they already believe. Combined with the author's claims that these devotions are based on messages received from Jesus, the result is a perceived doctrinal accuracy and authority that does not exist. What readers get, instead of an author sharing her personal reflections—as is claimed in the publisher's blurb, and is normal for other devotionals—is a devotional in which “Jesus”... God... speaks directly to you, telling you how to think and what to do. Jesus Calling is a very dangerous book.

In a review of Jesus Calling Rick Thomas wrote:

This book is claiming to add to the written revelation we have already received in the Word of God. I know I keep emphasizing this, but it’s so dangerous. No, I don’t think Young is proposing to add the book of Young after Revelation. But that is, in effect, what her writings are claiming. – Rick Thomas (

Jesus Calling has achieved a level of sales unmatched by most other devotionals. Millions of people are reading Jesus Calling. Millions of people are applying what they learn from Jesus Calling to their lives. That’s a big problem.

What we will be doing in this book is examining, step-by-step, potential problems with Jesus Calling. Then we'll learn what the real Jesus is like by looking at what He actually says in scripture. The best way to identify a counterfeit Jesus is to know the real Jesus.

Two ways to know false teaching

There are two sure-fire ways to identify false teaching. One is that it presents a false Jesus... and we'll see that Jesus Calling does that. The other is that it presents a false gospel... and we'll see that Jesus Calling does that also. We'll also see that Jesus Calling is filled with unbiblical teaching.

What is the best way to identify a counterfeit Jesus?

By knowing the real Jesus and the real gospel.

RUN! It’s Jesus Calling is not a negative book. Most of this book is about the real Jesus and what He actually said. If you know the real Jesus, you'll see the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling is shallow, superficial, and not concerned about the gospel—meaning the Jesus of Jesus Calling is not the loving Jesus whose reason for coming to earth was to save us. His #1 goal is that none would perish.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9

This verse does not mean everyone is saved. What Peter is saying is that Jesus loves you and does not want you to perish. That’s why He came. But, although not stated in this verse, you have the option of rejecting Him and following a false Jesus. It’s your choice. Please make the right choice and choose Jesus, the right Jesus. Not the Jesus of Jesus Calling.

I’d like to conclude with a word to some of my charismatic brothers and sisters. As you read this book you’ll notice that I do not believe anyone today is receiving messages from God in the same way as claimed by Sarah Young. I have good reasons for my position, which I touch on lightly in this book. However, without regard to our differences on that subject, please at least read the prolog, and then evaluate whether Jesus Calling presents a true or false gospel. I think you’ll agree it is a false gospel and on that point alone Jesus Calling must be rejected as being a book that is good for Christians to read.

To order on Amazon: Click here: Run! It's Jesus Calling.

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All quotes from Jesus Always are copyright 2016 by Sarah Young
Hebrews 7:25 -- 2 Corinthians 2:14 -- John 8:29 -- Matthew 28:19-20 -- Isaiah 57:16 -- Psalm 103:9