I was sitting in my Celebrate Recovery small group last Friday discussing the events of the week with several of the men when someone mentioned the book The Purpose Driven Life. It’s not surprising that someone would mention the book, since the writer, Rick Warren, is pastor at Saddleback Church, where Celebrate Recovery originated.
I was surprised that several of the group members spoke out about how much the book has helped them. I started to wonder why this book has had such an impact. So, this past weekend I took it off my shelf and read parts of it again.
It does contain some basic truths about things we take for granted in life, but the same can be said of Seinfeld reruns. So, why did this book cause such a sensation?
My best guess is that it DOES give the reader a sense of purpose. The world is full of people seeking answers — and it can be frustrating when those answers elude us. It tells us in plain language that God is in control and he hasn’t given up on any of us. It’s comforting.
So many of us get into trouble in life when we try to do things without God. We live in the culture of “I”. There is nothing wrong with self confidence, but God teaches us to be humble. We get into the most trouble when we don’t turn to God before we make a decision.
“It’s not about you”.
The first sentence of the book made me think of all the times I have put my will ahead of God’s plans. To think of the trouble I could have avoided if I had prayed for guidance instead. The ego is a strange and powerful thing. The culture of “I” tells us that we are in charge, but we are not.
You won’t find a deep theology in this book, but you will find a simple truth or two. That’s better than most things, and maybe it will help you focus on your faith. Forty days of study won’t help you if you stop there, but forty days can make a world of difference if you dig a little deeper.