We have all probably had to fight for someone or something at one time in our life or another, and most people don't enjoy losing. But, sometimes the difference between winning and losing is understanding how to fight and knowing what it is that is worth fighting for in this life. And learning to fight is the subject of the newest book by author Craig Groesschel, titled simply Fight, that is due to be released this October.
Craig Groeschel is well known throughout the world as the Pastor of one of the largest churches in the United States, Life Church, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. With a congregation of multiplied thousands, he has had to speak with his share of more than a few people who had some challenging fights, and with others who fight every day to stay spiritually strong in a world of compromise. In the book Fight, he uses the Biblical model of Samson as an example of the wrong way to fight, and draws out many Biblical principles that can easily be applied to our lives.
He states very directly that the book is primarily geared toward men but, knowing that women will also read the contents, he encourages every reader to learn how to apply the truths contained in the pages to the areas we all struggle with most. What are some of those areas of struggle? For men in particular, from Samson's life he chooses to focus on lust, entitlement and pride. And later in the book he adds some thoughts about failure and regret that can easily be applied to multitudes of beaten down warriors.
I found his stories, particularly those which he tells about himself, to be hilarious and sometimes familiar to anyone who recognizes the challenges all of us face from time to time. The book is very easy to read and the chapters remarkably short, proving that you can say a lot in only a little bit of time. As the subject matter is very important in men's ministry, he covers the issues well and any man should find himself hidden somewhere in between these pages.
I received this book free from the publisher through the http://BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I believe that whether you're a man or a woman that you will gain insights into the world of the way a man thinks and feels. And if you will apply the principals contained in this book, then you too can learn to fight...and to win.
Fight is a book for guys. Really. In every way, it's designed to appeal, minister to, and address a male audience stylistically and in content. Groeschel says that pretty clearly up front, encouraging women readers to just put the book down because it's "not for you." I was sent the book to review, though, so as a woman I pressed on and kept reading. After all, sometimes it's a help for me to better understand where my husband is coming from.
The book essentially argues that men are designed to fight, created by God to be holy warriors, and encourages Godly men to step up and fight the battles worth winning against sin and for their marriages, families, finances and personal holiness.
Interestingly enough, Groeschel chooses to study the account of Samson in the Bible--God's champion-gone-bad---mostly as an anti-hero, one that reminds men of what happens when they squander their potential, refuse their calling, and give into temptation rather than discipline themselves through obedience. It's not often that we really examine the story of Samson, other than to tell the sordid story of Delilah, and I think it is valuable to look at Biblical characters not just for the examples they give us of what to do, but also to show us what not to do. Samson certainly fits into that category.
As a woman, I was struck by how much of the book addresses men's emotional reactions, but not in a way that is typical of more female-focused material. Groeschel argues that, while women run the gamut of emotional responses, guys generally experience anger. Maybe it's directed at themselves, others, God, the situation or anything else, but generally it's anger that drives their reactions. So, Groeschel focuses here, on disciplining male emotions and overcoming anger or at least redirecting it. He also covers the topics of pride, lust (lots and lots of time spent on this topic), envy, greed, and the small steps that lead guys closer and closer to habitual and devastating sin.
The chapters are extremely brief and the book itself is fairly short. It's a quick read with amusing anecdotes and personal stories with humor that will resonate with a male audience. Overall, Groeschel is undemanding of his audience, never requiring extended attention, lengthy reading sessions, or even in-depth study.
Perhaps that leads to my main criticism of the book. It was hard to tell from place to place or chapter to chapter exactly what the extended argument was here. It seemed like a series of nearly disconnected chapters, like mini-talks or podcasts, strung together loosely under the theme of "stuff guys deal with."
In the final chapters, he seems to hone in on a final push for self-discipline and holiness, but he meanders his way there in the previous chapters. The overall progression seems jumpy as a result. A little bit on lust here, a little bit on pride there, a little bit on how men need to fight and then back to lust again and maybe another discussion of lust a little later on, as well. The discussions on Samson seemed secondary to the topic, added in to provide Biblical anti-examples, but not really the driving force behind the book.
Overall, this book will probably work well for guys, holding their attention, addressing practical problems, and encouraging them to step up as holy warriors for God, not being knocked out by sin, temptation, lack of discipline, and selfishness. But it isn't a particularly deep Bible study or even my favorite of Groeschel's books (but then, as a woman, it wasn't meant to be my favorite).
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Pastor and author Craig Groeschel wants men to discover who they were created to beâ€”a warrior. He believes God designed men to have the heart of a warrior, to itch for a fight. That doesn't mean we were created to be "aggressive, alpha-bully punks." Rather, God placed within the heart of each man a divine desire to fight for righteousness.
To explain his thesis, the author draws from the story of Samson, the strongest man who ever lived. While Samson's accomplishments are legendary, he is better known for his failures, which were epic as well. As the author explains,
"God gave Samson unique abilities he could have used to advance God's kingdom. But because of his vanityâ€”and selfishness and lust and shortsightednessâ€”Samson squandered them. I can sum up Samson's life in just one statement: he was an incredibly strong man with a dangerously weak will."
Throughout the book, the author weaves personal examples, funny stories, and principles from the life of Samson to flesh out his thesis.
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about the book. On the one hand, it was funny and entertaining. The principles were biblical. The examples seemed real. It is a book that men can relate to.
On the other hand, the book felt like a series of talks given at a men's retreat and later compiled into a book. It is certainly Bible based, but the author does not teach the Bible. Instead, it feels like he is teaching principles of manhood and backstopping them with Scripture verses.
In teaching principles of manhood, I don't think Samson is the best example of a godly man. He serves more as a model of what not to do rather than an example to follow.
Rather than showing men how to win life's battles, the book explains how not to lose the battles as Samson did. For this reason, I think that while the book has some strong points, it misses the mark.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com http://BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.