Lake finds self-help advice in the teachings of the Bible in this debut work.
Life is full of difficulties, notes the author—even for Christians who’ve put their faith in God: “We are not promised an easy life because we are believers,” he writes in the first chapter of this spiritual guide, adding that “Sometimes the negative events of life can discourage us. Sometimes our own minds become our worst enemies.” Even so, God has armed Christians with the Bible, he asserts, which contains many useful principles to help stave off uncertainty and fear. After offering a quick, six-page summary of the Old and New Testaments, Lake describes how one may employ their principles to lead a more “meaningful life.” He demonstrates this by telling the story of a man named John—a nominal Christian who doesn’t take the Bible literally and who’s generally unsure about many aspects of life. As John explores religion—largely through trial and error—he eventually discovers what Lake earlier calls the “unchangeable truth of the Word” and finds fulfillment in the love of God. Along the way, the author addresses theological issues (such as what grace is, and why it’s important), existential concerns (the purpose of life, the nature of choice), and practical ideas regarding marriage and higher education, among other topics. Lake’s prose is clear and plainspoken, and the book moves along at a pleasant pace as he mixes his spiritual ideas with the warm language of the self-help genre: “A truly successful life requires focus and determination. Life is a game of focus. Sin breaks focus. The many distractions of life in this world break focus.” The author’s worldview is quite conservative, however, which may limit his potential readership; for example, he doesn’t believe in evolution, condemns extramarital sex, and is critical of “much of what is routinely acceptable on television and in the movies.” Also, his unsubtle allegory involving John, his tendency to describe Christianity in terms of war, and his frequent mentions of Satan give some of his advice a prickliness that makes it less persuasive.
A well-paced, if unevenly executed, guide that offers straightforward fundamentalist Christian ideas.