And Without Rival fulfills on its promises.
The first thing you will notice when you grab your copy is that there are discussion questions after each of the chapters. Designed to be experienced in a small group along with a video, it seems only fitting that a book that hammers home the dangers of comparison and the truth that we are each created without rival should be experienced in a community.
By connecting with others in an authentic pursuit of truth and the change it brings, the group setting allows you to apply the “homework” immediately as you release the barriers you have constructed.
In her inimitable style, Lisa doesn’t waste a moment before tackling the revelation that God does not love us equally.
She is quick to explain that rather than loving us the same, which infers that we are easily replaced by one another, God loves us uniquely. There is no replacement in his affections for you.
This reality is at the heart of her cry for us to duck out of the comparison game and to discover the richness of recognizing that we are without rival when it comes to God’s affection and His unique call and giftings for each of us.
In a society where the second question asked after your name is often, “so, what do you do?” Lisa prompts us to go beyond the Facebook bio questions to determine who we are rather than what we are.
In one of the first exercises, readers are encouraged to take pen in hand and pause long enough to listen to what God whispers in response to our question, “God, how have you uniquely created me?”
Working through Without Rival is like having the chance to sit across from Lisa with a cup of hot chocolate with cinnamon in a fluted glass. At every turn, she is challenging us to recognize, embrace and live the truth but she does so with vulnerability that makes the process easier.
She is quick to share her failures, which lend credence to her call to be changed. You are convinced that this is a woman who has not only walked in the bondage that she reveals but also in the freedom that she teaches.
As we consider the story of Abraham and Sarah. Lisa weaves biblical history, Hebrew and her imagination into a presentation that brings this familiar story to life. Just in the poignancy of God changing Sarai (the masculine declaration- Jehovah is Prince) to Sarah (a feminine role – Princess of God) Lisa vividly illustrates her point that to God, feminine is in no way lesser.
Called to love fearlessly
As Lisa leads us through the damage the thief of comparison can bring, she is quick to confess her own stumbling. As readers are encouraged to identify the rivals in their lives, the role they can have as an instructor encourages us to turn these weaknesses to strengths.
As Lisa honestly addresses the putting down of women’s voices, her call is not to disobedience but to a fierce obedience to our King. Like in the book of Esther, she asks, are there times when earthly leaders have restricted our words only to have God prompt us to fulfill our calling as his ambassador?
Without Rival is a clarion call to love fearlessly- God, our spouses, our friends and even ourselves. As Lisa exposes the brokenness that marked the first few years of her marriage, she leads us to a place where we can love without fear. As she examines the scars and the restrictions that marred her heart, her call to us to be fearless is strengthened.
If you are looking for a book that will tug your heart back to the Father, one that will make you laugh and weep in recognition at the stories within and one that will have you fiercely committed to living a life without rivals, this is the book for you.
Lisa Bevere is an international speaker and best-selling author. She will be in South Florida on October 20th as part of Bethel Music’s special Worship Nights Tour. Francesca Battistelli will join them as guest worship leader and tickets are available at BethelMusic.com
Anitra Parmele is a writer for Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. To contact her, email SharedJoy@yahoo.com.