Review: Do Not Be True to Yourself

Review: Do Not Be True to Yourself

Do Not Be True to Yourself
Published: 2023-05-16
Page Count: 80
These inspiring graduation speeches and sermons, presented by Kevin DeYoung, offer counter-cultural advice for high school and college students, guiding them to put Christ first as independent adults.

What is it?

A short book of five edited talks that Kevin has given at various graduation ceremonies or other contexts of older youth or young adults.

Who wrote it

Kevin DeYoung is a Presbyterian pastor in the USA, and a frequent writer and speaker in evangelical circles there.

Why I read it

This January, our sermon series is called ‘A Better Way’. We are looking at some of the most prevalent cultural ideas and truisms, and considering how they compare and contrast to the gospel. One of the sermons was looking at the idea ‘be true to yourself’, so this book was an obvious read for me.

What I liked

It’s short, reasonably punchy, and uses hyperbole to emphasise the important of keeping Jesus at the centre of your life.

The chapter that expresses the books title was insightful, though I perhaps expected it to go a little deeper than it did. It was certainly a good starting point at thinking about said issue, and it was an aid to my sermon preparation.

There were a few other bits of wisdom through the remaining chapters, particularly focussed on helping young adults to navigate faith amidst the significant changes that occur in their life after finishing school.

What I didn’t

A few small sections of the book speak about aspects of life that are very American (eg. moving out of home to college after school). It wasn’t too hard to understand the point most of the time, but it can be a little jarring in those moments.

Despite its hyperbole, it felt less incisive than I had hoped it might be on critiquing some powerful truisms of our age. What it said was fine, but I was looking for something a little more robust.

Who should read it

It is clear that its primary audience is older teenagers and young adults, and they would likely get the most value from it. That’s not to say that older Christians would not also find good wisdom here. Unfortunately, it probably has too many Americanisms to recommend it to many people. And the ones I think could handle those cultural chasms are also probably mature enough in their faith to be in less need of reading the book.

Overall Score

Do Not Be True to Yourself

A short book of five edited talks that Kevin has given at various graduation ceremonies or other contexts of older youth or young adults.

  • Difficulty to read
    It’s short, though it does talk about a few high-level concepts which make it slightly less accessible.
  • Overall Rating
    The book is not aimed at me, so it’s perhaps a little harsh to judge it in that way. I'd say I found it a worthwhile read (and it helps that it's only 80 pages), though I'd struggle to think of someone I might encourage to read it.

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