3 Stars Out Of 5
Worth the read, but with caution
June 24, 2013
"If God can take someone like me, someone without arms and legs, and use me as His hands and feet, He can use anybody." - Nick Vujicic
Nick Vujicic is a remarkable individual. He was born without limbs in a world where that expects you to be fully functional and is often unwilling to make adjustments for those who aren't. Through many failures, through many doubts, Nick has come out on the other side of his disability thanking God for his disability. It has given him the opportunity to prove that our limitations are often self-imposed and even the ones that aren't can still be overcome. Nick has often said that you can't argue with his life. After reading this book and watching some of his videos; I believe that's true.
Why does the book exist?
This book is a collection of 50 short devotionals using scripture and his own experience to motivate, influence and even bring some reality to a situation. Nick believes that through faith in God we can overcome circumstances and physical limitations. He shares his struggles, his failures, his triumphs and most of all his attitude. All of this has taken him around the world to speak to many audiences at many venues and they keep calling him back showing once again that it's hard to argue with his life and making this book worth the look.
In the good column we have scripture, faith and failure.
Scripture: Nick starts every devotion with a verse from the Bible and although he does use Jeremiah 29:11, which is a staple for Christian motivators no matter how badly they take it out of context, it's not all in the vein of Jeremiah 29:11. He's willing to use verses that balance the message of motivation with the message of reality. For example James 1:2-6 is used early on; "_ count it all joy when you face trials_" Romans 5:1-5, 2 Corinthians 2:16-18, and even Psalm 119:1-8 are thrown in there as well. These are all verses which, in my opinion, show the balance of God's blessing and God's call on us to live righteously.
Faith: Through the devotions Nick is often pointing the reader back to God. He depends on God for his faith, strength and attitude. He even explains that the his whole purpose isn't just to motivate, but to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Failure: Since so many motivational books are just constant streams of "you can do it!" and "don't give up!" I can really appreciate Nick's reminders about failure. He has faith in God, but that doesn't mean he doesn't doubt sometimes. He's got a great attitude, but that doesn't mean he doesn't get depressed. He's shown that you can overcome disabilities through faith in God, that doesn't mean he hasn't prayed that he would wake up with arms and legs. Nick is unwilling to give in to his doubts and depression and has taken his failures and used them as a stepping stone to success. It hasn't always worked, but once again, you can't argue with his life.
In the bad column we have "The perfect you", "Your dreams", and the Book of life.
The Perfect you: Through out the book Nick makes the point that you are the perfect you. You may be imperfect in some way and you have your unique challenges, but you are the perfect you. There is Biblical basis for this (Psalm 139:13, Isaiah 45:9, Romans 9:21) and I understand what he's getting at; that God made us the way we are for a purpose. However, since this is a book by a Christian intended to spread the gospel it's missing a key component to understanding our condition: Repentance and the forgiveness of sins. We are lost without Christ and if we remain in that condition it won't matter how successful we are in this life, our next life will be hell. While a case could be made that he's pushing toward this understanding he's just not as clear about it as he could be.
Your Dreams: Nick relates never giving up with always following your dreams. There is a strong emphasis on "me" and "my dreams" and "my fulfillment" through my dreams. Dreams and striving for a better life are good things, however, Nick puts so much emphasis on it that it seems the dream has become the important thing above finding fulfillment in Christ. Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." In effect, we must find ourselves in Christ first so that the desires of our heart are the desires of His heart. Then we can chase our dreams.
The Book of Life: I will admit that this is really the big issue I have with the book. The perfect you and the dreams stuff needs to be tweaked, but we can work through it and no harm done. This one is serious and I would like Nick to offer some explanation on it. In the very last devotion he writes, "All of our names and numbers are in the Book of Life. We just don't know when God will decide to take us home to be with Him." This is concerning because of how the Bible describes the Book of Life.
"And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:15
According to the Bible not everyone is written in the Book of Life and we will not all be with God when we die. Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but if I'm not then Nick's theology contradicts the message of the New Testament ultimately making the sacrifice of Christ pointless and that's not just different, it's dangerous.
The Wrap Up
Overall, I can recommend this book. It's balanced, it's challenging and if Nick can achieve what he has without arms and legs then what right do I have to say it can't be done when I have arms and legs. Nick, just clean up that "Book of Life" statement to reflect Revelation 20:15 and we've got a winner.