Thursday, September 15, 2016
The 10 Greatest Struggles Of Your Life by Colin S. Smith (book review)
The 10 Greatest Struggles Of Your Life: Finding Freedom In God's Commands by Colin S. Smith (Moody Publishers)
The 10 Greatest Struggles Of Your Life by Colin S. Smith is intended to help the reader utilize the Ten Commandments in order to discover areas of your life that are out of sync with God's will, and receive wisdom to help you break through these struggles. The book contains an introduction, ten chapters, and a 30-page study guide to help you apply the lessons from each chapter. Each chapter is written to address a struggle reflecting the commandment it shares a number with. The struggles (in order) are God, Worship, Religion, Time, Authority, Peace, Purity, Integrity, Truth, and Contentment.
First, the things I like about this book... In the application suggestions (in the included study guide), there are three suggestions given for each chapter: Baby Step, Substantial Move, and Radical Life-Change. This allows the reader to find an application that correlates with their current level of progression on their spiritual journey... I also like that each chapter is broken into several segments, making it easy to read portions of it when you can't get a long block of free-time.
Unfortunately, my list of dislikes is longer than my list of likes. I spent most of my reading time trying to figure out the intended audience (knowing that somehow it wasn't me). It seems to jump back and forth between speaking to the new-believer and the longtime Christian, without much time spent in between the two. This could lead to a lot of confusion for new-believers, as well as potentially leaving them feeling very inadequate for the journey, rather than embracing it. Also, several parts of the book seem to be redundant and jump around a lot so it's hard in places to figure out what point the author is trying to make.
Honestly, my strongest complaint about this book is more of a warning than anything else. I think the subtitle (Finding Freedom In God's Commands) could be misleading to the wrong person. I'm at the point in my journey where I'm struggling with self-worth and shame, and was hoping that said "freedom" could help me embrace God's love and forgiveness more fully by rediscovering the Ten Commandments. That's why I got this book. However, most of the book is dedicated to pointing out our short-comings as humans and how we all fall short of perfection, and that none of us can live up to these Commandments. While I agree that we all sin and fall short of perfection, and that we all need God's forgiveness and redemption, focusing on your short-comings is not the best way to feel "freedom" if you are already in a pit of despair. I fear that to the wrong person, this book could simply add fuel to a chaotic spiral and make their already low sense of self feel even more devastated.
So, please, only read this book is you have a relatively strong sense of contentment with where your life is at this present moment, and are looking for ways to build a closer relationship with Christ by tightening your level of commitment toward following His example. This book is not recommended for use to build contentment if your present life is radically different than how you would desire to have it.
Overall, I'm giving this book 3/5 stars.
*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this honest review.*