The envy of Eve
Christian Focus, 256 pages, £8.99
This interesting read combines the sort of practical analysis of heart-level Christian living to be found in the writings of the later Puritans with the anecdotal style often found in Christian writing today.
The anecdotal aspect makes the book readable, as well as providing copious illustrations of the issue being dissected and illustrated. The central issue is that of covetousness, and it is relevant to Christians living in our materially successful but spiritually empty, modern world.
The author is female and some of the anecdotes and discussion of relationships reflect this. However, men will benefit as much as women from each example given.
Questions for personal reflection and group discussion are included at the end of each chapter. These help readers apply the content of chapters to themselves.
The theological stance is Reformed, with God’s sovereignty over all aspects of life central to the author’s approach, while man is still held to be fully responsible.
The root of coveting is diagnosed to be unbelief. ‘Coveting does not result because we don’t have something. We covet because we fail to believe something’. That something is the sovereignty and goodness of God’s character.
Melissa Kruger discusses the close connection between covetousness and idolatry, quoting John Piper: ‘covetousness is a heart divided between two gods. So Paul calls it idolatry’ (Desiring God).
She goes on to say: ‘A covetous heart reveals that our affections have turned from the one true God to the vain and false idols that we worship. Essentially, our unbelief begets our covetousness, and our covetousness gives birth to idolatry’.
How the negative pattern of seeing, coveting, taking and hiding can be replaced with the positive pattern of seeking God, desiring rightly, giving generously and confessing freely is discussed in general terms. It is then applied to a variety of aspects of life, such as relationships, circumstances and gifts, along with material possessions.
This combination of clear, biblical analysis with contemporary accessibility is one that the reviewer would like to see in more books produced for the 21st century church.