Book Review: Altar Ego (Becoming Who God Says You Are)


Uplifting, bold, and enthusiastic describes the mood of Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are by Craig Groeschel. In fact, this book had many quotables in it so much so that one quote inspired an entire blog here. But what is Altar Ego’s central theme?

Groeschel begins by tearing down the labels we give ourselves. “That’s why God’s truth about who I am transformed my life and hope. Paul writes, ‘Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!’ (2 Cor. 5:17 NLT, emphasis mine). No matter what others have said or what you’ve believed about yourself, even if the negative labels are true, God can give you a new view of yourself.”

He said if you are not physically fit; believe you can be physically fit. Groeschel talks about how his wife struggled in an area of her life because of a label she believed and when he encouraged her to think of herself, her altar ego, under a new name his wife overcame the obstacle and was able to do great in her classes. But Groeschel doesn’t stop at labels. Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are is all about transformation. Liberally laced with scripture references, Altar Ego talks about integrity, honor and respect, too.

“Isn’t it tragic,” Groeschel says, “that we live in a world where people are more shocked by a display of integrity than the lack of it?” He defines respect and honor as two different things and that, deserved or not, we should give honor as something someone doesn’ t have to earn and respect is described as something earned.

I did disagree with one portion of the text on honor, but I won’t go into it as it may not have anything to do with the accuracy of the text as more of viewing it through the lens of my past and taking it more sensitively than I ought. I fear others who have gone through what I went through might look at that with the same jaundiced eye I did and question the usage. While I won’t go into what it was, let me say that someone looking at that text from a normal viewpoint would find nothing wrong with it, and when I step into their shoes I can see the simplified message. In normal everyday life, I can even agree with it. He also points out honor from the political spectrum.

Altar Ego shows in an example how even a Republican and Democrat can honor something or someone without agreeing or tolerating something against their beliefs. His section on honor is what everyone in our society should read and practice and it was a good reminder for me, too. Groeschel speaks boldness towards the end of the book—bold prayer, bold living, etc. My favorite part of the book is what rarely anyone seems to practice anymore; that is, not being silent when a friend is doing something unbiblical.

“The mindset of never offending anyone anywhere has overflowed into the church as well. More and more, I hear Christians say things like, ‘You know, I don’t want to upset anybody, so I try not to speak too boldly about my faith.’ Consequently, a common mindset in the church today is that to be good witnesses, we need to just let our actions speak for us. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great place to start, because hands down, we do want our lives to reflect Christ. But there are times when we can’t just let our lives speak for us; we must use our words to witness boldly as well.” Groeschel follows this line of thought with an example of his outrageous and humorous fear of snakes, especially copperheads.

Overall, I gave this book five stars because Groeschel speaks fiery encouragement into the milk-toast Christian, hoping that they close the book bolder than when they first opened it. To learn more about Craig Groeschel, click here.

*book given by the publisher to review.