Book Review: The Purpose Driven Life

I read this book last year – I’m so far behind in writing reviews, haha.

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For?The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For? by Rick Warren
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book has a lot of great points and I enjoyed the writing style and the writing style overall. But there were a few things I wanted to specifically point out.

“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be. You must move against it with the weapons of faith and love.”

Fear is a prison. I’ve seen some reviews (on Goodreads) tear this apart because of the odd comparison with faith and love being weapons. I really don’t have a huge problem with this imagery, but I wanted to go ahead and see what the bible says. I didn’t find a place where faith and love are weapons, but in Ephesians 6:16 where it talks about the Armor of God, faith is a shield. (Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.) Along with Faith, these others are also mentioned as different pieces of armor: Truth, Righteousness, Gospel of Peace, and Salvation. Only one is a weapon: The Sword of the Spirit, which is The Word of God. So I think it would actually be more appropriate to use the shields of faith and love (and I don’t have a problem with those two together because Paul used them together often, such as in Ephesians 6:23). But I still appreciated this. 🙂

“Nothing matters more than knowing God’s purposes for your life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing them.”

At first, I wasn’t sure, but I think he is stating the same thing that came to my mind – that the most important thing is God’s will. His purpose and will are the same, right? However, I do think that knowing Jesus period is the most important thing. Not just His will for your life. So I liked this reminder.

“It is impossible to do everything people want you to do. You have just enough time to do God’s will. If you can’t get it all done, it means you’re trying to do more than God intended for you to do (or, possibly, that you’re watching too much television).”

…or browsing too long on the Internet. Guilty. X) Putting my will before His. It’s not just doing everything everyone wants. Its also doing too much that I selfishly want. This part resonated with me.

“You don’t bring glory or pleasure to God by hiding your abilities or by trying to be someone else. You only bring him enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you. God says, ‘You have no right to argue with your Creator. You are merely a clay pot shaped by a potter. The clay doesn’t ask, “Why did you make me this way?” ‘ “

This, I have problems with. The Bible does say that, but I think this is out of context. So, here is the verse in context:

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’ So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.’ Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’ On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?” (Romans 9:14-20)

The way Rick comes across is that we should be unapologetically ourselves. This verse is NOT talking about the moment when God created us. It talks about resisting God’s will. I could go on a rant about being ourselves, but I already did that here: (https://followinghimbesidestillwaters…)

Think about it. “Anytime you reject any part of yourself…” Does this mean I am not to reject the sinful parts of myself? Jesus said we should die to ourselves daily. We must give up flesh like a caterpillar gives itself up to become a butterfly. To not give up sinful parts goes against Scripture. I’m not saying Rick meant it this way. I only think he should have clarified this part of the book because it could be taken the wrong way. 🙂

“I read that book a long time ago, and I don’t remember Rick ever suggesting that we should not try to overcome our sins. If that is so, why read into this quote what he did not mean to say? The way I read this is, if I have irreparably crooked teeth, or freckles, or shortness, or difficulties understanding certain subjects, or illness, or disability, or poor eyesight, or hearing loss, or any other number of genetic problems, it would be extremely prideful of me to be angry with God and very disrespectful to argue with Him for how He made me. Also, coveting the abilities God has given to others instead of appreciating and using the abilities that He has given me to serve Him would be another way to be the clay arguing with the potter.” — Ruth, in the comments of this post

**Clarification – I realize this is needed after Ruth’s comment. 🙂 When I was a teen, I used the excuse that God must have wanted me this way (depressed, gothic, must want to suffer emotionally) when I was younger because He didn’t take away the pain and didn’t seem to care if I was on the darker side. (I thought if He didn’t like it, He would stop me. He IS God after all.) So that’s why I was so harsh on this point of rejecting parts of yourself. If I had read this when I was younger without a little clarification, I would have used it as a “well look He made me like this so there is no point in changing.” If Rick is speaking about disabilities, physical challenges, illnesses or things like that, then I can agree with this. 🙂 I think my personal struggles clouded my thoughts and I added meaning into it that Rick didn’t mean. After much consideration, I really don’t think the intention was that it’s okay not to give up sin. I just want to be careful that anyone who was of the same mindset I was doesn’t take what he said here as an excuse.

View all my reviews on Goodreads here! 🙂

23 thoughts on “Book Review: The Purpose Driven Life

  1. “Our faith is what wins the victory over the world.” 1 John 5:4 God’s Word Translation
    “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
    I believe Warren used the word “weapon” symbolically. I believe the point he is trying to make is that we should not give in to fear because God has given us everything we need to overcome it.
    “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
    Also, you might want to check out Isaiah 45 and in particular verse 9 about the potter and the clay. I read that book a long time ago, and I don’t remember Rick ever suggesting that we should not try to overcome our sins. If that is so, why read into this quote what he did not mean to say? The way I read this is, if I have irreparably crooked teeth, or freckles, or shortness, or difficulties understanding certain subjects, or illness, or disability, or poor eyesight, or hearing loss, or any other number of genetic problems, it would be extremely prideful of me to be angry with God and very disrespectful to argue with Him for how He made me. Also, coveting the abilities God has given to others instead of appreciating and using the abilities that He has given me to serve Him would be another way to be the clay arguing with the potter.
    I do believe that we need to be careful as authors critiquing other authors. Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As authors, we each think a little bit differently one from another. There is no way any one of us can predict how every single reader might take what we say. So, as readers, I think it’s important to give grace and the benefit of the doubt to other authors just as we would want then to do for us. Blessings, dear sister. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree – I hope I didn’t come across as I didn’t like it because I did. 🙂 I’ve never read the God’s word translation; I love how it states that faith wins victory. ❤

      "I believe the point he is trying to make is that we should not give in to fear because God has given us everything we need to overcome it." When you put it like that, I completely get it and I agree. 🙂

      As for the last part of your comment… I realize that my own struggles may have clouded my judgment. I definitely don't want to come across as not giving Rick grace and the benefit of the doubt. I added a clarification to the review, and will go over and edit my Goodreads review to match. 🙂

      The part about genetic problems hit home, haha. (I haven't opened up on my blog about it before, but I have joint issues that are most likely hereditary because my grandma had the same issues. Except she never, to my recollection, popped a joint out of place like I have.) I really appreciate you taking time to respond to me so graciously. ❤ Blessings, dear sister! Going to read Isaiah 45 now. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • When I went over the book in our Bible Study, I noticed some things Rick wrote were pretty vague. (Grace and I went over the book the same time) It had been over a decade since I had read the book previously. When I was younger I really enjoyed the book and loved it. With as much as I’ve grown, I think overall this is a great book for those who are just stepping into a walk with Christ. Rick does a great job of going over a lot of basic concepts.

      That being said, some things are misleading and I think it’s okay to address those things as an author and reader, especially for readers who may have some concerns or questions.

      I know countless times I’ve had bloggers comment on my blog posts with assumptions, misunderstandings, or things they didn’t feel comfortable with me writing. Many times it has encouraged me to go back to my writing with God and see what I can work on clarifying. I’d say even though some comments are challenging, 95 percent of the time I know people are coming from the place of focusing on Christ. And it’s all about Him. How can we be clear so our readers are not misunderstanding? Or even if people disagree, what we can say better to address those concerns/thoughts?

      We can always grow as writers, and definitely, we need to encourage each other with the truth. It gives us better perspective, and always puts the focus back on who it needs to be on, Jesus.

      As scripture says, iron sharpens iron. I’ve learned this scripture this past year with a fellow sister in Christ. Sometimes we have to be challenged to grow 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear T.R., one of the things that really impresses me about you is your willingness to listen to concerns that people voice on your blog and humbly go before the Lord for His direction. Your teachable spirit is pleasing to the Lord and He will honor you for it.
        Perhaps I should read this book again and get a feel for it as a more mature believer. It’s true that we pick up on different things at different stages of our lives.
        I agree that “it’s okay to address those things…” My concern is more with HOW we should address them and to whom. If we address them with humility, with statements like, “I’m not sure this is what he meant, but this is how I understood it,” for example….
        Also, in this day of easy communication,why are we not addressing our concerns to the author if we believe he needs revisions to his book? Matthew 18:15-17 What would Jesus do if He were in our shoes?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Amen, Ruth!

          Well, I suppose in the same way commenters can comment on a blog post, reviews are for the same purpose. There are many places to address our thoughts, and as authors we also know that when we put something out to the public, it’s very natural that the public might want to respond in a very public matter.

          However, you are extremely right, in how we address it!!!!

          Reviews like this especially, are not just for the authors but especially for the readers. When Grace and I first discussed this book, I had read it previously, and there were concerns about the book based on other reviews people had left.

          So, in that way, reviews in the public eye and sharing concerns or thoughts is also good in add another perspective, and addressing those things for readers who see these other reviews and maybe have concerns.

          Looking at the book with a different pair of eyes definitely made some great discussion! 🙂 If you ever pick up the book again, I hope it’s a blessed opportunity, Ruth!!!

          I was telling Grace I deeply appreciated the comments on this post and how we are here to encourage each other. How truly if we are eyes are focused on Christ, He will help us understand each other, and that’s so powerful!!!

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Great clarification! Thanks for adding that!Yes, we understand things from a filter of our own experiences. Thanks for not being upset that I spoke up. I imagine that I read your post through my own filters, too. I also believe it’s important to use the right word, and I understand that this helps us to properly communicate and that not choosing the right word might cause confusion, which we don’t want to do. But it can and does happen, and that’s where grace comes in. I guess I’ve heard people do what the apostle Paul warned us against doing, wrangling/striving/arguing about words, and my super-sonic antennae went up. Sorry.
    2 Timothy 2:14 – “Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” https://biblehub.com/2_timothy/2-14.htm
    As for the genetic problems, do you have Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes? My daughter has been having joint problems, and we have an appointment with a geneticist at the end of the month. I would not be a bit surprised if that’s her diagnosis. She is having to do physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that hold her joints together.
    God bless you, dear sister. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I’m not upset at all! 🙂 I appreciate that you spoke up; I could tell that it was constructive criticism, spoken in love. ❤

      I agree about the filters, and in this case, I needed to take mine off and see it objectively for what it is. 🙂 The rest of the book had it's unclear moments, but he seemed to have a good view on sin. It wasn't fair of me to make the assumption I did and I was a bit harsh.

      Oh I love that verse from second Timothy. ❤

      That's what I'm leaning toward, but I don't have a doctor's diagnosis. I want to do exercises at home for the same reason. I'm still looking at videos on YouTube and such. Some stretches I've tried made my joints crack / feel wrong / almost come out of place. I wanted to get stronger muscle-wise and joint-wise but I also don't want to accidentally hurt myself. Also read that Vitamin C is good for joint health, and found out shortly after that I'm allergic to the vitamin, if I accidentally take over the daily recommended / or eat something that is over that amount.

      I'll be praying for your daughter, that the physical therapy helps her. ❤

      God bless, dear sister! ❤

      Like

  3. I never thought about how the reviews might be interconnected and “add another perspective… addressing those things for readers who see these other reviews…”
    Thanks for pointing that out!
    I hope that my comments were encouraging; I truly do not want to be a source of discouragement!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for your sweet response! Yes, it is good to try to be objective and ask God for wisdom to see past our filters.
    The physical therapist only has my daughter doing 3 stretches, for the Achilles tendon, back of the calf, and hamstring area. They told her NOT to do any other stretches because she is already too hypermobile. All the other exercises are for strengthening.
    I’ve never heard of being allergic to Vitamin C! Bummer! I wonder if that is one of the comorbidities that can go with the condition you have. There are many possible comorbidities with EDS.
    Thanks so much for your prayers! I’ll pray for you also.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 ❤

      Oh! Wow. :O Also understand; I didn't realize some stretches could make it worse!

      Me either but apparently it can happen. I broke out in hives and my throat tightened a bit. Most jellies are off limits because of the citric acid / absorbic acid used to preserve them. However, if the source is natural, I can have it, I just have to be careful. A glass of juice is fine, more than one glass is not. It also makes picking out vitamins interesting because it needs to have 100% daily value or less of Vitamin C in it, haha.

      Yeah, it may be. 🙂 But at least Vitamin C and peanuts I can stay away from. I've read about some people who were allergic to things far worse. So I'm grateful. 🙂

      Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know what happened. I haven’t received your posts in my Reader for a long time. I only have several blogger posts came to my Reader. Something is wrong, and I must asked WordPress of what happened. I went to my Setting to find the blogs I follow and came here.

    Anyway, I’ve read The Purpose Driven Life as a group reading followed by discussion. I enjoyed your book review.

    I’m in Portland, Oregon visiting my granddaughter and her birthday party is tomorrow. I hope to see your post in my Reader.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my! I don’t know either – I asked a friend if I show up for them in the reader and I do. That is so strange! Hope WordPress can fix it. So glad you found me again. 🙂

      😀 ❤

      Oh!! Happy (belated) Birthday to little Autumn! 😀

      Like

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