Editor's Note: This article is a review of Bill Giovanetti's new book, How to Keep Your Inner Mess From Trashing Your Outer World (Monarch Books, 2009).

Every person has a cast of ugly characters riding in the back of their bus. If you're not careful, they'll consume and control your life.

That's the premise of a refreshing book by author and pastor, Bill Giovanetti. Bill is pastor of Neighborhood Church of Redding California.

The characters Bill describes—Inner Saint, Inner CIA Agent, Inner Legalist, Inner Idiot, Inner Flirt (his list covers just about every sin)—together they make up your Inner Mess. And Giovanetti makes the case that the reason Christians fail in taming their Inner Mess is because they have the wrong prescription.

Writing in a humorous yet to-the-point style, Giovanetti systematically lays out a Biblical course for allowing Jesus to control the inner life.

As a lifelong church brat, accustomed to living by lists and working out my sanctification in my own power, I found this book to be refreshing and empowering. I don't know that I've ever read a work that so accurately and biblically fleshes out the inner life.

A few times I actually closed the book and sat straight up, thinking through conclusions and theology that I'd never before considered. For instance, Bill believes that we wrongly strive toward the well-worn axiom of "WWJD"—What Would Jesus Do. When we try to do what Jesus did, we fail, because only Jesus could do what Jesus did. The better way is to allow Jesus to live through us and allow His grace to flow through our lives.

Every day, Giovanetti says, we wake up to a battle. But it's not the battle we think. It's not a battle against sin or even against our flesh. It's the battle inside that says "Christ can't do something in me." In other words, the key to living out the Christian life is to have a bigger faith and it's that faith that releases the grace that empowers our lives.

He encourages us to build up our soul by immersing ourselves in the Word, in community with like-minded believers, and in Biblical preaching. All that serves to build a muscular faith, a faith that works.

I highly recommend this book for its clear, practical, sound teaching on the inner life of a believer. You won't finish this book thinking you have to do more, be more, say more. You'll finish it realizing that Jesus Christ really can do a work in and through you, despite the ugliness of those characters at the back of your bus.

Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, or at danieldarling.com.

Original publication date: December 18, 2009