You are what you… read.

You are what you… read.

I used to hate reading. It was on the same level as the dentist and sauerkraut. A reading assignment at school was a devious form of slow, mind-numbing torture. When I went to Bible College, my interest ignited. The “had to read” soon turned to “get to read”. Now I love books. Paper and Kindle. My Kindle app has 388 books on it and my Amazon Wish List has 107 books waiting for a sale or rainy day.

Every so often on the blog, I want to give my cliff notes, my digital highlights of the most critical quotes from books I am reading. I will begin with an introduction, then the quotes will fly. If you are not a reader, don’t worry, it’s a quick scan with little pain (except for the zingers quoted). I hope to challenge you. Here goes nothing.

Defining Moments by Dan Schaeffer

My Introduction to Defining Moments:

Defining Moments, those times when temptation and opportunity meet, are those instants in our ordinary days where we can make or break everything we have worked to build. Our character will be authenticated or mutilated, depending on our split second decisions.

These moments come without warning, but not without preparation. We actually can develop the character to do the right thing, even in the most stressful of temptations, in the quiet and unassuming little choices we make every day. These moments reveal our character. They define our legacy.

Reading this book rekindled a healthy fear of sin and its sneaky tactics to take me down. It renewed a desire to be able to claim what Paul cried out in his letter to Timothy: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

For me, this book was a goldmine of quotable thoughts. I have many times retreated back to my notepad to reread and be challenged in my faith. Although you may not get the whole context for each quote, I believe you will see why I was challenged.

Our defining moments come without warning, but not without preparation.

My book highlights:

  • “Defining moments! One morning you wake up, totally unaware that today you will make a decision that will define your life for years to come/ perhaps forever. If you had known this moment was approaching, you would have prepared for it. But you didn’t. Such moments will cast us in either a positive or negative light. We can be defined as much by noble actions and words as by tragic ones. George Washington was defined as much by his valor and fortitude at Valley Forge as Napoleon was by his overreaching ego at Waterloo. ‘Each of us will experience moments that are far more important than all the others. In these moments we will say or do something because such behavior has become second nature to us. But the consequences will be drastically different. This one act may become a permanent snapshot of our lives that we will be unable to erase. When others look at us/ that action, those words/ that one moment/ will dominate their thoughts. It will become our defining moment.  If not dealt with properly, a single weak character trait can have a negative effect on the rest of our lives” (page 32)
  • “Character flaws are like weeds.  They grow faster when there are ignored and become increasingly difficult to pull out” (page 32)
  • “There are no harmless character flaws”
  • “Faith is not a blind leap as much as a small step of obedience” (Page 53)
  • “Pain plants a flag of reality in the heart of a rebel fortress” (page 55)
  • “A fatal attraction is something we find ourselves drawn to that we know is dangerous and sinful, yet we have convinced ourselves that it is safe for us” (page 67)
  • “this was not a momentary character lapse for Achan, but the natural result of a fatal attraction he had nurtured… Unfortunately, it was an attraction needing only the right opportunity— a defining moment– to prove his undoing” (page 67)
  • “There is [hidden] within all of us a fatal attraction. We may ignore it, assuring ourselves that we have it under control… Often we mistake the lack of opportunity with self-control, but… In the mercy of God, we may never have been exposed to the right opportunity” (page 68)
  • “…unaddressed passions within us… Do not remain dormant; they will demand attention, and we must either deny them— sending them back into the shadows— or feed them, making them stronger still” (page 69)
  • “An unaddressed perverted passion had grown too strong for Achan to control” (page 69)
  • “an unaddressed passion will slowly but surely deaden us to God’s Word and work in our lives. We begin to tune out God’s voice because it will present an unwanted obstacle to our sin, and we don’t want our sin challenged; we want it fulfilled” (page 70)
  • “We wander away from faith. It is a slow defection rather than an abrupt departure” (page 71)
  • “a fatal attraction stimulates the growth of other sins within us” (page 72)
  • “a fatal attraction blinds us to encroaching danger” (page 73)
  • “Achan obviously had the will to sin, he lacked only the opportunity” (page 73)
  • “Rather than following Achan’s process; I saw, I coveted, I took, I hid… May our legacy be; I saw, I was tempted, I resisted, I escaped” (page 77)
  • “Ananias and Sapphira craved a reputation [of self-sacrifice] that they did not deserve… They tried to gain a goodreputation at a discount” (page 102)


I close with maybe the most challenging quote from this book for me:

Senator Dan Coates said “Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization. The only testing ground for the heroic is the mundane. The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life or even a nation is those hundreds of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private. Habit is the daily battleground of character”

What are your thoughts or favorite quotes from this book?

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