How to Succeed at Being Yourself
By Joyce MeyerHarrison House, 1999 | ISBN 1-57794-164-0
Reviewed by Merle Harton, Jr.
I have to confess that I am an ardent fan of Joyce Meyer, and those who are familiar with her as a teacher will, like me, find this book to be one of her best. As a text that seems to fall into the "self help" category, this has to rank near the top of its class as a Christian guide to self improvement. It is scripturally sound, full of practical wisdom, and will for many be a transforming experience.
The main question Meyer wants each of us to ask ourselves is this: Are we all that God wants us to be? She does not hazard an answer to the questionthat is our task. What she wants to do is help us get on the right path for our affirmation. In the process, she takes us on a journey of self-discovery, with a road map drawn meticulously from Scripture. She also shares with us her own experiences, her mistakes and triumphs, examples from the lives of friends and family, lessons from biblical study and from the Spirit, and teaches us how to be sensitive to God's living word for us.
At the heart of her message is a deep truth hidden in the division between who we are and what we door, as she puts it, knowing the difference between your "Who" and your "Do." God can love us for who we are, even if he cannot approve of what we do. But in order to appreciate his love to the fullest measure, we have to free our selves finally from our fallen carcass, learn to remain confident in the face of condemnation, step out in faith, and regularly dedicate ourselves to God. The results will be astonishing, as we learn to look beyond our weaknesses to our real God-enabled strengths, as we learn greater success in prayer, as we learn true boldness in following the leadings of the Holy Spirit.
Paul reminds us that "The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" [Gal. 5:14]. Meyer wants us to overcome obstacles to fulfilling this command by coming to terms with an authentic love for ourselves, for God wants us to accept his love, to accept a balanced love for one's self, and to love all those who come into our lives. We get closer to these objectives when we do not despise our weaknesses, but learn to live beyond them through a perfecting of God's strength. As Meyer teaches, this will mean an aggressiveness about keeping sin out of our lives, a commitment to using our God-given gifts and talents, and stepping out boldly in faithoften with small steps only.
Meyer's book is a finely crafted prescription for finding and following the destiny God has planned for us. It is also good Christian literature. If you read only one book by this prolific teacher and minister, let it be this one.
Copyright © 1999 by Merle Harton, Jr.
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