3 out of 4 stars
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I just finished a review yesterday in which I referenced Christians who go to church only on Christmas and Easter, so it's incredibly fitting that I stumbled upon Don't Let the Enemy Steal from You!: A Crown of Thorns to a Crown of Righteousness by Darren Cox today. This is an incredibly short (only twelve pages!) book that I'd describe best as a written sermon calling Christians back to God's work.
In Don't Let the Enemy Steal from You!, Darren explains the importance of being dedicated to Jesus. This dedication, this laying down our lives for God's will is what grants us our "crown of righteousness", a phrase used throughout Bible passages Darren includes in his text. In fact, it's hard to call this a book or text, it's far more of a sermon or an impassioned speech on this very singular concept. The book is written as one chapter that flows from point to point, referencing scripture and weaving a Darren's most vital messages throughout the twelve pages. Darren speaks of how we, from those who believe in Jesus to pastors who lead churches, have lost our way in dedicating ourselves to God. He says we fear man more than we fear God, and that we've laid our crowns down. He also points out that the only thing worse than a physical death is a spiritual death, and that we're already spiritually dead if we don't follow Jesus.
Darren also talks about how many of us have trials we go through. He says that we often complain that no one knows what it's like to feel the way we feel, to go through the hardships we face. This is when he gets into the "crown of thorns" and how it relates to the "crown of righteousness" - when Jesus made his famous walk to his crucifixion he was given his crown of thorns, something most Christians know. However, the even more vital point here is that when Jesus suffered this way, far more than most any living person will ever suffer, he freed us not only of our sins but also of our crown of thorns. Instead, when we dedicate ourselves to Jesus, we are crowned "with a crown of righteousness", something that no thief, no murderer, not even Satan can steal from us.
While this is one of the most impassioned, powerful speeches I've ever read in text format, the fact that it's a book and not a video or even an audiobook makes it a little messy to read. I counted seven errors in these twelve pages, and that's not including things I'd normally consider errors like repetition, lacking punctuation in places or sentence fragments. When I read this book, my inner reading voice spoke it aloud with passion and fire, following along with the way it was written and seeing how it could very well be the transcribed version of a spoken piece, so these other issues faded away.
Due to the errors I found and a desire for just a little more content out of this book, I'm rating Don't Let the Enemy Steal from You! 3 out of 4 stars. It's a quick, easy read and it definitely fired me up, but I just wanted a little more out of it. Darren definitely speaks from the heart, though, and has an incredible fire in him that he laid on the pages of this book. I'd recommend it to any Christian, especially those who have lost their path or could use a little more intense devotion in their spiritual life.
Don't Let the Enemy Steal from You!: A Crown of Thorns to a Crown of Righteousness
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