Book Review: It Came From Within, by Andy Stanley

Everything you say and do comes from the heart… everything! That’s exactly what Jesus said, along with Solomon and other biblical writers. And that’s what Andy Stanley tells us in his book It Came From Within.

Most of us like to think like the Pharisees, that our problems have to do with what goes into our bodies, but Jesus challenged that thinking with the revolutionary thought that the only things that ever get said or done are those things that are lurking inside of us. Our words and our actions originate deep inside, in the heart.

Stanley’s book addresses, from a very creative angle (seeing our problems like monsters from old science fiction flicks), four of the most significant heart problems we face. They are the sins of guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy. Why not lust? Because lust is God-given – it’s just that we allow it to burn out of control. In an epilogue, Stanley asserts that if you beat the big four, sexual lust is far more manageable because guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy all destroy our potential for intimacy, which fuels sexual sin. That, in and of itself, is a revealing and revolutionary thought.

I’m not going to spoil the story and recap all that Stanley offers as solutions to these problems, but I will offer a single quote as a summary…

Confess, forgive, give, celebrate. These are the habits that will change everything. ~ Andy Stanley

The book is well-organized, a quick read, but packed with practical truth. I wouldn’t describe Andy’s style as eloquent or flowery. Rather, he’s down to earth. I felt he was sitting at a coffee shop with me, kindly but not-so-gently pointing out what I’ve needed to hear for so long… my problem is my heart. Yours is too.

This book has left me with some penetrating questions for consideration, and I’d challenge you to not only get and read the book, but to consider these questions as well…

  • What in your words and actions should be causing you concern with regards to your heart?
  • What are you doing to cultivate a godly heart of love?
  • Do you seek to lay the blame for your problems on others or do you look within yourself?
  • If you have kids, are you challenging them to not only understand the world around them, but their hearts within them?

I think I picked up this book and started reading because I needed a heart checkup, and I’m thankful I did. It isn’t all I need for the journey, but it’s a great start.

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