Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review: Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Encouraging lessons from the life of David
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Facing a Giant?
This book will remind you
Who you should turn to

Fighting Giants - Lessons from the Life of David

The last couple of months have been rough for me. I knew I needed to refocus my attention on God. And I knew there would be no better author to do that then Christian author Max Lucado. I'd had Facing Your Giants sitting by my bed since my birthday, so I decided it was finally time to read it. It was exactly what the doctor ordered.

This book is a study from the life of David. An important Old Testament figure, David was taken from obscurity (shepherd, youngest of eight sons from a small village) and made king of all Israel. As a youth, he faced Goliath, a nine foot tall man no one else dared fight. Then he was hunted by sitting King Saul. Once he did become king, he fought hard to rid Israel of her enemies. Yet he fell into the sins of adultery and murder before watching his family fall apart and try to overthrow him.

And yes, there are lessons for all of us in this. The theme that Lucado keeps returning to is focus. When David's focus was on God, he prospered and his enemies fell. When his focus was on the circumstances, he stumbled into sin. Along the way, we get to watch him keep his promise at potential personal cost. We see the power of friendship as evidenced by Jonathan's encouragement in the midst of trials. We learn to make our family a priority. And most importantly, we learn to never give up.

Here's the thing about Max Lucado's books. Very rarely do they contain anything I haven't heard a million times before. Take, for example, the highlights of the chapters. Each chapter includes two or three key sentences highlighted in the middle of a page. Going through and reading those sentences by themselves, I find very little that I don't already know intellectually.

Nevertheless, the book really spoke to me. Why is that? Because Lucado is able to paint word pictures that speak to my heart. He uses not only David but other stories from life to really drive his point home. And his words are so tender, you can't help but be encouraged. These are the words of a friend wanting to help. Even when he is challenging, there is an air of love to the words that make them so much easier to swallow.

Take the central premise: "Focus on giants - you stumble. Focus on God - your giants tumble." Nothing original or earth shattering there. Yet it is first introduced at the end of the opening chapter. By that point, Lucado has demonstrated exactly how David was focused on God while facing Goliath and how that differed from the soldiers in the army. So while that quote isn't something I didn't already know, the truth was able to strike me again.

Ironically, I spent time this summer in a Bible study on the life of David. While this book often brought out different points and used different stories, I found looking at the life of David again so soon to be really great.

No, my giants haven't gone away. But I have been reminded of Who is on my side and Who can defeat those giants. If you need to be reminded of that basic truth, Facing Your Giants is for you.

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