Lynn Tolson's Reviews > The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
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's review
Jan 03, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: inspiration, spiritual-growth
Read in January, 2006

I chose to review this book because I couldn't resist a best seller. The Purpose Driven Life has sold over 20 million copies. The book has won the Book of the Year Award from the Evangelical Christian Publisher Association 2 years in a row. The back book jacket calls the book "A GROUNDBREAKING MANIFESTO ON THE MEANING OF LIFE." Given the popularity of this best seller, I had to see what Warren wrote to demand the attention of readers who buy multiple copies to give to friends, neighbors, and relatives. Additionally, there are many accompaniments to the main book, such as hardbound and leather-bound journals.

Warren divides the book into 40 short chapters because, he writes, "The Bible is clear that God considers 40 days a spiritually significant time period. Whenever God wanted to prepare someone for his purpose, he took 40 days." Thus, the 40 days are intended to be a time frame for this spiritual journey that encourages self-reflection. At the end of each chapter the author offers a point to ponder, a verse to remember, and a question to consider. Warren states: "By the end of this journey you will know God's purpose for your life." The promise made by this author grabbed my attention. In fact, chapter 2 is titled "You are not an accident." Warren repeats the premise of this chapter in several different ways, such as "God made you for a reason" and "God never does anything accidentally." Warren contends that most people ask of their life "What's in it for me?" rather than considering that we are "born by His purpose and for His purpose." By the end of the book, I received the main message summed up in the first sentence: "It is not about you."

However, there were statements and paragraphs that challenged my credibility of Warren. He uses the book to express his opinions that I dare say are shortsighted and even stereotypical. For example, Warren defines a "real" servant as someone serving God by serving others and as having 6 characteristics, 1 of which is: "real servants maintain a low profile." Warren hardly has a low profile. Does that mean that according to his definition he is not a "real" servant?

I can't deny that this book has its place in the spiritual journey. I found lessons that were appropriate to my own journey. Warren encourages readers to embrace their weaknesses and accept their vulnerabilities. Having many of those, I was heartened to learn that God does not expect perfection, and I can complete my purpose with all my foibles. Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story
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