Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Envy of Eve - Book Review

This morning, I'm giving everyone a break from my series on Nehemiah, and re-posting a book review I did on my blog.

Who doesn't struggle with feeling envy? Who hasn't occasionally found it difficult to suppress?  Melissa Kruger's book The Envy of Eve  is a book that can shed light on why this might be. This book is about the subtle and seductive nature of covetousness and the damaging consequences which can result.

Kruger first establishes what coveting is:
an inordinate or culpable desire to possess, often that which belongs to another. 
 Kruger first establishes the nature of coveting, specifically, where the root lies, which is unbelief.  We covet because we do not believe God's dealings with us are good; instead, we want what someone else has.  Kruger describes a pattern whereby we covet:  see, covet, take, hide.  She begins with Eve in the garden who saw the fuit, wanted what was not hers, took it, and then was forced to hide in her shame.  This pattern is found in all of the chapters as she details the various kinds of coveting.  The way to battle this pattern is to adopt a new one.  Instead of seeing, we should seek the Lord in all things.  Rather than coveting, we should desire rightly.  Instead of taking, we ought to give generously, and instead of hiding, we should confess freely before God any tendencies lurking in our hearts.

Kruger explores various areas where we may covet: money and possessions, romantic relationships, relationship with friends and family, circumstances and seasons of life, and giftedness and abilities.  In each chapter, she provides a solid biblical example of the consequences of coveting.  For example, in the chapter about romantic relationships, she points to the devastation wrought after David coveted Bathsheba and took her.  Also, in each chapter, she discusses ways to adopt the new pattern which rejects coveting.  At the end of each chapter, there are questions for group discussion.  Sometimes, the discussion questions in books like these aren't my favourite thing, but I found her discussion questions very biblical and edifying.  I think one could take the bible passages and have a nice study with a group of friends if one so chose.

All of the chapters spoke to me in some way, alerting me to my own tendency to covet.  However, the chapter about relationships with friends and family was very hard-hitting to me.  I have struggled with female friendships all my life, and I can see now how much of my attitude toward them has carried a root of covetousness.  Kruger reminds us while having good relationships with family and friends is not wrong, they can become idolatrous in many ways, as we seek them more diligently than our relationship with Christ.

At the heart of every chapter is the principle that our complete and total sufficiency is found in Christ, not in these earth-bound things which we covet.  When we spend time coveting, we rob God of his glory and we can rob our family and friends of things as we spend time chasing things which are not meant to be ours.  Ultimately, we take honour and glory from God because we don't embrace what He has given us.

This book was such a refreshing read in comparison to many other Christian women's books which try to excuse bad tendencies by making all women out to be "victims" in some manner.   My tendency to have covetous attitudes about female friendships could be because I was bullied in junior high school and suffer from fear of rejection.  But no, it's not; my struggle comes from not accepting the things as good that God has given me.  It coms from wanting something someone else has.  This book forces the reader to take a long, hard look into her own heart, and I think that is really needed in this age of therapeutic Christian reading.

I highly recommend this book for women of all ages.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review, Kim. Adding this to my list of recommended books.

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  2. Good review! It was an excellent book...no matter what your situation is, you'll be convicted of some area in which you struggle to accept God's goodness and His sovereignty.

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