Book Review: Fearless, by Max Lucado

Reviewing a book by Max Lucado tends to challenge all attempts at brevity; I find myself wanting to quote half the book, Lucado’s own words being much more powerful than my ability to summarize them. As it is, my copy of Lucado’s newest book, Fearless, is heavily tagged with sticky notes on all the passages I want to remember. There are fewer notes towards the end because by then, it’s whole chapters I want to return to upon more thought. I would have used underlines and notes in the margins, but I know I’ll want to share this book with friends, and I want them to have their own experience with this encouraging work.

In Fearless, Lucado challenges his readers to simply imagine a life without fear. In one of the most visually memorable passages to me, Lucado asks: “If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, and doubt, what would remain?” It is a powerful thing to imagine my life – as he says – “absent of dread or failure, rejection, and calamity.” Think of the joy and optimism that could fill that void if I let it!

According to Lucado, there are 125 “Christ-issued imperatives” included in The Gospels, and most of them have to do with being happy, cheerful and living without fear. He examines many of these in relation to the common fears of today – fear of insignifance, of being without, of persistant global threats, of dying, and more. Christ’s own words are used by Lucado to apply to our daily lives, bringing the scriptures to life and Christ’s promises to our doorstep.

This book is easy enough to read in one sitting, but I found I enjoyed it more in bites. Some of the ideas and scriptures overlap, so it was good to have a fresh mind when reading and avoid the feeling of redundancy. Also, not all of the chapters will likely apply to all readers. I personally do not have a fear of death or global wars and terrorism; I do, however, have fears of being insignificant and feeling alone. In that way, I think there’s something for everyone here, even if you find yourself skimming some of the chapters.

There are several companion pieces to this book, including a fabulous discussion guide at the end, and a small booklet summarizing the main points you can share with friends. There is also an extensive website – The Fearless Times – where you can read more about the book, more from Max Lucado, and personal experiences of people undertaking to live a fearless life. In a time when the temptation to be worried, stressed, and afraid is regular as clockwork, Lucado’s look at Christ’s exhortations to “be of good cheer” offers a real lightness and hope.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing this copy for review.

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