I was excited to have the opportunity to review Andy Stanley’s “The Principle of The Path” for BookSneeze. com (Thomas Nelson publishers). After all, Stanley is one of the finest communicators that I have read or heard. “The Path” is classic Stanley – well written, well told stories that deftly illustrate his premise that we choose our destination when we choose the path we will take. Stanley says, “Direction – not intention – determines our destination.”(p.14)
How often have we heard other people’s stories of how shocked they are to find themselves in the situation they are in? After years of buying every latest gadget or taking elaborate vacations and buying a new car every other year they are puzzled as to why they are in financial turmoil. Or the parents who are extra-permissive with their children throughout their elementary and pre-teen years and are surprised when their teenagers wind up in trouble at school or with law enforcement! Couldn’t they see it coming? We sure did!
Stanley challenges his readers to listen to that voice of wisdom or that advice you get from those with a bit more experience and make decisions that are consistent with the destination you want to arrive at. He writes, “The day will come when you’ll look back and think, What if I hadn’t acted wisely? What if I’d chosen the easy path? ” (p. 50). He concludes chpt 4 with: “When you see trouble coming, take refuge. Change direction.Because it is the direction of your life that will determine your destination.”(p. 55).
As I read “The Path” I was impressed with the value of this book for young adults. This should be required reading for all college freshman or for all pre-marital counseling. Of course, most of us wouldn’t listen to this sound advice at that age so what are we to do when we are middle-age (or older)? Stanley recommends that we take action: “But now that you are aware of how all this works, you have the opportunity to embrace this principle and leverage it for your benefit. Now you are in a position to choose your destination rather than discovering it once you arrive. But choosing will require change.” (p. 153)
At the same time Stanley recognizes that some are already at their destination and it’s not exactly where they thought they would end up (even though their decisions clearly sent them down the path toward this destination). Stanley uses the story of David and Absalom and the words of Jesus in the Garden to illustrate his point:
“On the night of his arrest, Jesus knew that his time on earth was drawing to an end. And he did not like the way it was ending. So he prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me” (Luke 22.42). In other words, If I were writing this script, there wouldn’t be an arrest. There would be no flogging. And there would be no cross. But then Jesus echoed the words of David, “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (v. 42). That’s the prayer of the man and woman who are faced with a destination not of their choosing but continue to trust the One who has led them there” (p. 173).
The Principle of the Path includes a helpful 10-session study guide for small group use.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”