You Were Born For This - Review

I just finished my pre-release copy of Bruce Wilkinson's new book "You Were Born For This." When the publisher asked me if I'd be interested in reviewing it, I jumped on it. Wilkinson has written a couple of books I really liked. In fact, if I made a list of the twenty most influential books on my life, "Seven Laws of the Learner" would be one of them. So, I was excited to get my hands on this book.

The main idea of Wilkinson's new book is that God wants to use each of us as our life intersects with the lives of others in ways that we could never imagine. Our responsibility is to just be alert and available to what God is doing in lives and situations all around us.

I love the main theme of the book. So few of us are intentionally available to the hundreds of opportunities that pass us by every day because we see them as small. Yet every opportunity we miss to be available to be used by God in the life of another person is a huge opportunity. Wilkinson's book seeks to change our perspective of the opportunities around us, and I'm thankful for that.

However (you could sense that coming, couldn't you?), aside from the main theme of the book, this book was hard for me. I feel like in Dr. Wilkinson's attempt to clarify God's desire to work in our lives, he muddies some other things. Three primary things:

1. Wilkinson adopts a new definition of the word "miracle." Much of this book is based on the idea that we get to "partner with God in doing miracles" in the lives of others. I think what Wilkinson is trying to do is show how powerful it is when God works through your life in the life of another. However, I think his language is confusing and has a byproduct of making the concept of miracles less powerful. In the Bible, when someone does a "miracle," God reverses a natural process (sickness, death, weather, drought, or famine). And, the point of miracles, at least as Scripture seems to use the concept, is that they don't happen all the time. Wilkinson redefines the concept of "miracle," which I found confusing and misleading. It is amazing when God uses you to be an agent of His working in the life of another person, but the Bible would not call that a "miracle."

2. Wilkinson's writing style has changed considerably in the last several years, and it's hard for me to get past the fact that he tends to be the hero in most of his stories. Even though he talks a lot about transferring credit for a "miracle" to God, the truth is, it's hard to picture myself actually doing what Wilkinson does because a disproportionate number of the illustrations involve examples by "the guy who wrote the book" on the subject.

3. There's a real emphasis on listening to "nudges" by the Holy Spirit as far as discerning when to push into peoples' lives to do a "miracle," but no explanation on how to discern between a Holy Spirit nudge and the effect of a chili dog. I absolutely believe that God can lead us by nudging us, but there are a lot of people who live their lives in "God-told-me-to-do-this" mode when it's quite obvious to everyone else around that God didn't tell them to do any such thing. We have to balance our gut with Truth to ensure what we're "hearing" is from God, and not from something masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14-15; 1 John 4:1).

4. It takes Dr. Wilkinson until page 200 to say anything specific about the Gospel, and even then he mentions it in a parenthesis. In the early part of his book, when he talks about the "Master Key" to doing miracles, he fails to mention that it is impossible to partner with God apart from a relationship that comes through faith in Christ's finished work on the cross. I feel like that's a huge missed opportunity, because there is a strong possibility after the success of Jabez there could be thousands of people who read the book who don't understand the first key to joining with what God is doing is understanding what He has already done.

All in all, I have a hard time recommending this book to many people. I love the main theme, and what I think are Dr. Wilkinson's good intentions. I just feel like the book is more confusing than helpful in some critical areas.


Rev. Diane Melograne said...

Chris, I think you are being a little too critical of Bruce's book. Page 33 quotes Ephesians 1:18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

I am teaching through this book in our Wed. night study group and find it most beneficial and enlightening. I also see the lives of those in our group being encouraged and their faith strengthened as we minister to the needs of those around us.
Diane Melograne,