However, thanks to Amazon.com's great Look Inside functionality, I was able to browse through the beginning of the book and got hooked. Well, not "hooked" in the typical way that books or articles or commercials and such things "hook" you, which often comes through a veiled appeal to our own self-interest or an affinity to something we desire. Rather, I was hooked because I found in the preface and in the early part of chapter one an answer to prayer that I've had for some time.
For a while now, I've had a distant and rather ambiguous feeling about my faith and relationship with the Lord. Despite my committment to regular attendence at my church's functions and my diligence in studying the great doctrines of Grace, the Bible, and heavy Biblical theology, I simply have felt that something was standing between God and me. I've been praying lately that God would just get this pruning season over with, so I can get back to my close fellowship with Him and be able to live with a sense of true joy once again.
In Gospel-Powered Humility, Rev. Farley has reminded me of my great propensity toward pride and how insidious and deceiving it is in the life of the believer. Pride is the one sin that God hates most and the one sin that we want to consider in ourselves the least. Here is just one of the many points the author makes that is worth quoting:
"Pride is the opposite. It is spiritual blindness. It is a delusional, inflated view of self. It is unreality on steroids. And the scary part is this: The thing to which we are most blind is our pride. A demonic Catch-22, pride causes us to chase our spiritual tails. We cannot see pride - even though it is our most grievous, disabling sin - because its very nature is blindness, and the first thing to which it is blind is its own existence."
Fighting pride is a major spiritual battle - not an external battle against circumstances and other people, but very much internal spiritual warfare. Waking up from pride-induced absorbtion is an experience that leaves one feeling at the same time free and trembling before our Creator God. It is the perfect place to be - contrite in spirit, empty-handed and facedown before the foot of the cross. After reading Part 1: The Problem, with so many excellent scripture references, quotes from the Puritans, the church fathers, the reformers, and contemporary authors like Ed Welch, I can't wait to get started on Part II now: The Gospel that Humbles.
Even though I've not read more than 1/3 of the book, I can already say with confidence that this should not be missed, especially by those looking for something different. We simply do not hear enough about the sin of pride in this culture of ours where self is king. Recommended!