Enemies of the Heart

Perhaps it’s good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to have a beautiful heart.” -John Nash, quoted in Enemies of the Heart

Andy Stanley’s book on how to break free from four emotions that control us is short and easy to read, but contains a lot of thoughtful and helpful insight.

Stanley writes that four emotions–guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy–are at the root of many of our problems, and offers ways to diagnose these problems as well as how to overcome them.

I thought Stanley’s definitions and examples of the four emotions were interesting.  We get so used to hearing certain words that their meanings and importance can lose traction, so reading a book like this is helpful in identifying sins we’ve grown comfortable nursing.

Once he identifies areas you might be struggling with, Stanley turns to practical and biblical means of overcoming them.  As he points out, most Christians prefer to sing about getting new hearts rather than doing the hard work of obedience to get them.  While not downplaying the necessary work of the Holy Spirit in our sanctification, Stanley does call readers to spiritual discipline.

I found many of the suggestions helpful.  For example, after defining the antidote to anger as forgiveness, and forgiveness as the decision to cancel a debt, Stanley writes that in order to truly forgive, you need to identify who you are angry with (sometimes you act out your anger against other people who aren’t the cause), and to go beyond identifying what the person did to identify what the person took (your reputation, your trust, your security, whatever), because if you don’t know what the debt entails, you can’t really cancel it.

Enemies of the Heart is an easy book to read on your own, and while it contains discussion questions, I think it would only work as a group book if you were really close and comfortable with your group.  But I’d recommend it.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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