by Steven Furtick
WaterBrook Multnomah, 2012
Review By: Mitchell Hester
In most bookstores in America, the self-help section stands out as one of the most popular. Most people desire greatness, so they focus heavily on what they can do themselves toward creating a better life. Self-help books pose the problem of concentrating too much on the individual’s power in achieving greatness. This creates an issue for Christians because their aim should center on God. In the book Greater, author Steven Furtick presents a fresh take on what it means to live the greater life that God has envisioned for His people.
As founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, Furtick knows what it means to seek the greater things of God. He watched Elevation Church grow to ten thousand attendees in five years. Furtick also holds a degree in communication from North Greenville University and a Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He demonstrates the act of seeking God’s greater vision by drawing from his theological training and his experiences as a pastor of a thriving church.
The purpose of Greater goes beyond that of other generic self-help books, and it speaks deeper than any health and wealth message. Many people look for a list of things they can check off and do, but Greater seeks more than that. Furtick sees this book helping Christians step out in courageous faith and achieve the vision that God has for their lives. Many believers sit on the sidelines of life and settle for the lives they have. They often feel that they have done enough for God. Unfortunately, even in their greatest moments they find that what they offered falls short of His standards. God desires greater for his people, and only with His help can believers achieve greater.
Furtick believes that people’s lives can take three forms. He describes the first life as the good enough life. This life represents people who settle for the ordinary and never really try for anything else. They sit motionless and watch life pass them by. He describes the second life as the life of greatness. People leading this form of life have obscure goals that never work out, and they ultimately harbor feelings of disappointment and resentment. Furtick describes the final life as the greater life on which he expounds for most of the book. The greater life represents people who understand what selling out completely for God means. They also understand that only He has the provisions that make it possible.
Greater follows the example of the prophet Elisha, the often forgotten successor to Elijah. Furtick draws from key events in Elisha’s life which show how Elisha stepped out in faith and followed God to a greater life. Some of these episodes include Elisha’s calling, the healing of Naaman, multiplying the widow’s oil, and healing the Shunemite’s son. Each event lends itself to Furtick’s overarching theme that God can use people for greatness even if they struggle to see how.
Furtick uses a lot of narrative that focuses on his life as a pastor and a father. He shares stories from members in his congregation as well as personal moments he shared with his son. Consistently he weaves each illustration back into the theme of stepping out in faith and following God. Furtick also understands the world and people’s desire for relevance. For this reason, he pulls in several illustrations from pop culture that make Greater relevant to the world today. These references include mentions of pop music, celebrities, and technology.
Many believers struggle with seeking God’s vision for their lives. Worry and doubt creep in and dominate their hearts, and they find it hard to escape those thoughts. Some turn to a generic self-help book for the answer. Steven Frutick’s Greater uses examples from God’s Word and presents the clear message of having faith in God’s plan, even when you struggle to see it.