So begins Mark Batterson's latest book, Soulprint (Discovering Your Divine Design). It's not a self-help book, he says, because "Self-help is nothing more than idolatry dressed up in a rented tuxedo." But it is a self-discovery book, in which Batterson (and King David, whose story it follows) helps the reader discover his or her unique identity and destiny, promising "it’s never too late to be who you might have been."
Soulprint is filled with the sharp insights and memorable phrases that characterize a Mark Batterson book, springing from the most memorable scenes in the life of that most memorable story, the life of David, the shepherd-King of Israel. After the opening chapter, Batterson organizes the book around five memorable scenes from David's life: His battle with Goliath, his saving of Goliath's armor (as a "lifesymbol"), his encounter with King Saul at the En Gedi, his dancing before the ark of the covenant, and his sin (and repentance) in the incident with Bathsheba. The book concludes with a final chapter entitled, "The White Stone."
For my money, I love books about David, the man after God's own heart. And I love Mark Batterson's writing. So it doesn't get much better than reading Mark Batterson writing on David.
And, like all of Batterson's books, there are many quotable portions to remember. Here are some of them I marked and hope to remember and return to often:
David decided not to don Saul's armor or brandish Saul's sword for one very good reason: he wasn't Saul. David decided to be David. And we're faced with the same decision. There comes a point in all of our lives where we need the courage to take off Saul's armor (p. 15).I hope you see what I mean. Soulprint is a book well worth reading, and well worth heeding.
In God's grand scheme, it's never about orchestrating the right circumstances. It's always about becoming the right person (p. 26).
The bigger the opportunity, the longer it takes. The reason we get frustrated is because we think big without thinking long. This is a recipe for disappointment. Reevaluate your timeline. And be encouraged when it takes longer than you expected. That simply means that God wants to do something immeasurably more than all you can ask or imagine (p. 30).
It's not insignificant that Scripture records the actual weight of Goliath's armor: 125 pounds, 15 ounces. David probably didn't weigh much more than that! (p. 50).
One dimension of stewardship is memory management. Like optimizing the hard drive on your computer, sometimes your memories need to be defragmented. Instead of keeping a record of wrongs, for example, certain memories need to be deleted. And you need to create a mental folder where you cut and paste the blessings of God (p. 56).
One of my earliest and strongest memories is the first time I rode a bike. Part of the reason the memory is so strong is because I've heard my parents tell the story so many times. And that is one of the jobs of parents. They manage their children's memories by the stories they tell, the keepsakes they save, and the pictures they take (p. 57).
What we think of as the goal isn't really the goal. The goal is not accomplishing the dream God has given to you. The dream is a secondary issue. The primary issue is who you become in the process (p. 69).
Integrity won't keep you from getting thrown into a fiery furnace, but it will keep you from smelling like smoke (p. 83).
One of the most important decisions you'll ever make is who to offend. Trust me, you'll offend somebody. But make sure that somebody isn't the Almighty! (pp. 85-86).
No one likes to be embarrassed. In fact, we do everything within our power to avoid embarrassment at all costs. But we need to be embarrassed for the same reason we need to fail: it keeps us humble. And humility is the key to fulfilling our destiny (p. 93).
I'm no longer surprised by sin. What does surprise me is the person with the rare courage to confess. My opinion of people, when they confess their sins, never goes down. My opinion always goes up, simply because they are able to admit what the rest of us deny (p. 121).
(This book was provided for review by the publisher, Multnomah Books)