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(Review) The Search for Significance: We Can Build our Self-Worth on our Ability to Please Others, or on the Love and Forgiveness of Jesus Christ by Robert S. McGee

Publisher: Rapha Publishing, second edition 1990.
Genre: self-worth, identity in Christ Jesus, ego, Christian growth.
Format: paperback.
Pages: 479. The first 187 pages are reading material. The rest is the study.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.
Source: self-purchase.

Link @ Amazon: The Search For Significance. 
A new revised edition published in 2003: The Search for Significance.
Robert S. McGee's Amazon page. 
McGee and Me publishing page.

The Search for Significance book is divided in half. The first half of the book is reading material. The second half of the book is a Bible study. The Bible study is geared towards a small group setting. Furthermore, it should be led by a solid teacher in the Bible who also has a Christian counseling background. I make that last statement because this is how I was first introduced to the book. I was in a small group. We were led by a woman who is a licensed counselor and a person of strong Bible knowledge. We met as a group of both males and females. I believe it would be better to have an all male group, or an all female group. The reason is that some of the topics shared by the people may feel comfortable sharing with people of their own sex. For example; women who were victimized sexually in their past may feel more comfortable sharing in an all female group.
The Search for Significance covers a large number of topics. It is a book that I've read at least four times. Each time I have learned and gained something new.
Examples of topics:

  • Fear of failure.
  • Emotional scars.
  • Justification.
  • Propitiation.
  • Shame.
  • Forgiving.
  • False beliefs.
  • Renewing the mind. 

How people feel about themselves can become tarnished by abuse, traumatic life events, wrong thinking, and their own misunderstandings.
The aim of the book is explained on page 10.
A healthy, positive self-esteem is not attained by "feel good" superficiality. On the other hand, a Christ-centered view of ourselves is not detrimental to true discipleship; it is the result of understanding and applying the truths of the Scriptures. A proper view of God and of ourselves enables us to love, obey and honor Christ with full hearts. Paul wrote, 'For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgement...' (Rom. 12:3). This sound judgment is not based on either pop psychology or spiritual masochism. Sound judgment is based squarely on God's truth. The Search for Significance is designed to present His truth clearly. 
While reading The Search for Significance (this time). What stood out to me the most are two points.

  1. Faith. It is not about how much faith we have, but the focus of our faith. The focus of our faith is Jesus Christ. 
  2. Quote from page 186. As is turned out, God stopped Abraham from killing Isaac, and Isaac did not have to be raised from the dead. But there is an important point for us to learn about dealing with conflicting thoughts and emotions: We need to act on the revealed will of God as explained in the Scriptures, and focus on His love, promises, and power. Abraham did not focus on his conflicting thoughts and emotions, though he probably had many. Nor did he deny having them; rather, he simply didn't let them determine his actions. The promise of God to provide an heir and the command of God to kill Isaac looked mutually exclusive, but the sovereign Almighty God is able to accomplish far more than we can understand. We can have faith in His greatness, wisdom, and love, even when we don't understand what He is doing.

A final favorite quote:
Repentance means to change, to change one's mind, purpose, and actions. It is more than just the experience of sorrow; it is the changing of our attitude and actions when we have realized that they are sinful and dishonoring God. Page 157. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.