When I first picked up this book - many months ago - I had only heard great and wonderful things about it. And to be honest, the first half of the book is just that. Really convicting and helpful. Then the second half just fell short to me. I felt it was a mixture of psychobabble (not necessarily a negative term), a John Piper sermon (definitely not negative), and Gary Chapman books. I loved the concluding chapter - especially the part on Luther and Daniel. Here are some of the quotes that stood out to me:
"The praise of others - that wisp of a breeze that lasts for a moment - can seem more glorious to us than the praise of God. John 5.44." (p 40) Speaking in Gary Chapman terms - wholehearted, true words of affirmation are certainly important to me - one of my love languages. But, it is often hard for me to take a compliment - especially in areas where I feel weak.
"We spend too much time wondering what others may have thought about our outfit or the comment we made in the small group meeting." (p 40). Appearance is always important to girls. But, harshness comes when I am put down for my thoughts in a class or a small group - by someone I really admire or of whom I want approval. Maybe that comes from living in an educational world for so long - more than a fashion world (think The Devil Wears Prada vs Dead Poets Society). I grew up going to a small church in Plant City, FL. Everytime someone would have a new outfit on I would compliment them on it - or at least ask if that was a new outfit. No one ever said it to me, ok, hardly. My Mom would always cry over that with me - or for me. She knows encouragement and edification is one of my strong gifts - and hated it when it was never returned to me.
"I think that the application of Scripture to the details of our lives is great. My observation, however, is that these principles are not always embedded in the fear of the Lord. The result is that our goal can be self-improvement rather than the glory of the Holy God." (p 96) Wow - this is only hidden inward sin that most people hope no one else will ever see.
"The problem is not that we desire love, the problem is how much we desire it or for what purpose we desire it. Do we desire it so much that it overshadows our desire to be imitators of God? Do we desire it for our own pleasure of for God's glory." (p 149) Again, such a convicting statement - whether a person is single or married. Just was talking to a friend yesterday about contentment in different areas of life: single, married, kids, no kids, working, stay at home. We are never content. And as a paraphrase of CS Lewis - we will never be content outside of heaven.
"Self-serving needs are not meant to be satisfied - they are meant to be put to death." (p. 162)
I read Scripture with new eyes now. I read it and underline ways that the "actors" lived in fear of man rather than the fear of God - especially in the gospels. It happens so often - and also so often in our lives.