I admire John Piper and have grown tremedously through his ministry. He is a gifted teacher and one I deeply respect. Yet for some strange reason I do not enjoy his books. I have tried reading several of his books several times and have never enjoyed doing so. I don’t know why this is, but I suspect it may be his style of writing. He employs many short sentences and writes in flowery prose I usually find only in the writing of Victorian authors. Maybe there is another reason that is hidden to me. What I do know is that, as tragic as this may be, it will probably be a long time before I read one of his books again. I feel guilty about this, especially when I read other reviews where people praise this as being one of their favorite books and one that has done so much for their spiritual formation. Perhaps I will pick one up and try again next year.
Now despite my difficulty in reading this book, there is much of value within it. Piper has many good things to say about living a life that is sold out to God. He gives a lot of useful, practical guidance on living a life passionately devoted to displaying God’s excellence in every area of our lives. As you would expect if you have read any of Piper’s previous books or articles, the teaching that “He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” appears frequently. The standout chapter for me was the one dedicated to risk. The author teaches that to avoid risking it all for Christ is to waste one’s life. Of course this is not foolish, irrational financial or physical risk, but a calculated, spiritual risk that may expose one to the risk of injury or suffering. He supports this claim with many examples from the Bible – Joab, Esther, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and of course, Paul. To become a Christian was a risk, but the risk must continue through the believer’s life.
Other topics the book covers include : the goal of life, living to prove Christ is precious, the majesty of Christ in missions and magnifying Christ through pain and death.
So what can I say? While I benefitted from the teaching of this book and know many others have as well, I simply did not enjoy reading it. However, I know that the fault for that lies with me. Therefore, I will recommend this book, knowing that so many have benefitted from it.