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“Book Review of 'Defeating the Dragons of the World!

Ramesh C. Reddy

Book Release Date:  1987
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Author: Stephen D. Eyre

'Defeating the Dragons of the World' (1987)

Source: http://www.amazon.com

Pages: 154

Time taken to read: 196 minutes

Available at OIF Library

Book Synopsis:
“Defeating the Dragons of the World” is a powerful book that addresses the dragons of our lives that captivate us to the point that we lose all humility, joy, and courage in our lives when we become captive to them. There are six dragons of this world that Stephen D. Eyre addresses such as the Dragon of Materialism, the Dragon of Activism, the Dragon of Individualism, the Dragon of Conformism, the Dragon of Relativism, and the Dragon of Secularism.

With examples from his own life and people around him, Eyre takes us on an adventure to recognize the dragons of our own lives before it is too late. Eyre lets us see that the church and the people of God are not exempt from these dragons because sadly it has crept into the Church creating havoc in the people of God. But if the problem alone was presented and we realized we have this problem in our life, the book would have only been half effective but Eyre gives us a solution based on the Word of God, to defeat each of the dragons in our lives.

We are given exercises to do individually or as a group to process what we have been learning. When read with an open mind and prayerfully, there are places in the book that can bring you to tears when God makes you realize that it describes you to a ‘T’ and there is no reason to live life that way when we have a God that loves us in whom He wants us to find our identity and place in life.

Recommendation:   ****/5

This is a must read book for anyone who wants to be counseled or counsel other people about these dragons they are facing. Whether it is one dragon or all six dragons, the dragon needs to be addressed. This book provides a framework of doing that.

What I liked about the Book:
Because Annette, a dear sister in Christ motivated me to go back into counseling, I decided to read
‘Defeating the Dragons of the World’ so I could counsel broken hearts with the love of Christ, helping them to overcome these dragons.  Instead, I became the counselee where Jesus, my Wonderful Counselor used the book as an instrument to counsel me about two specific dragons in my own life that have a deep hold on me and this brought me to tears. It is the Dragon of Activism and the Dragon of Conformism.

While reading the chapter on the Dragon of Activism (I Am What I Do, I Am What I Produce), I was brought to tears because it reminded me of my days in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship where I did get burned out because my priorities were misplaced. It reminded me of how Paul and Chloe tried to make me see that activism in ministry has serious problems when not approached from a clear understanding of the Gospel and it’s implications. I did not take their advice and failed miserably.

As the years went by, I did not think about much about it because I used to think activism brings results whether in the world or in ministry but activism became a dragon and defeated me. However, God picked me up by His grace to get me through that chapter of my life.

After all these years, if I thought I had defeated that Dragon of Activism, I could not be more wrong. When I became involved in Oakland International Fellowship (OIF) in different capacities of leadership, this dragon invaded my life again and defeated me once again.

I got burned out and lost the opportunity to do what I love to do. When Pastor Ed wanted me to see what was happening to me, I did not think this Dragon of Activism was a problem until reading this chapter brought me to tears that rolled down my cheek. I would have avoided so much pain if I dealt with it with Pastor Ed months ago instead of thinking there was nothing wrong with activism in ministry.

But there is a serious problem with the ‘Dragon of Activism’ and I am so glad that the Lord used Annette indirectly. It is her excitement to go into psychiatry and focusing on a research topic of ‘Christianity and Rehabilitation’ that motivated me to spend my time reading counseling books again. I did it to help others but the Lord used it to open me up.

The chapter powerfully addresses the problem of activism outside and inside of the church and how followers of Christ can defeat this dragon before it destroys them.

This is not the only dragon that has been invading my life. I did not realize how much the ‘Dragon of Conformism (I Am Who Others Recognize Me To Be) influences me and affects me. This chapter brought me to tears too because it reminded me of a heartfelt response I got from a dear sister who wrote, “I will be praying for you too, that you continue to experience God's love for you.”

I said to myself I did not ask for that prayer request because I do continue to experience God’s love for me. Then it occurred to me that she was praying the prayer that I needed. If I did continue to experience God’s love for me, I would not have been  focused on accolades or other people’s recognition of me. Her prayer request for me and what Pastor Hugo had shared with me regarding how much I want to have titles of leadership and be recognized struck a nerve while reading this chapter because it described certain aspects of my life to a ‘T’.  Pastor Hugo was just reiterating what Pastor Ed has felt all along.

I realized how much the ‘Dragon of Conformism’ has a hold on me when I talk to other people. Whether it is in ministry or non-ministry, I realized I like to share my accomplishments of what I did or do for the sole sake of being recognized and feeling good about myself. The problem in this is I realized I took Christ, my Wonderful Counselor out of the picture finding my identity in how others see me and recognize me instead of being content with how the Lord sees me, as a special and precious child of the King of Kings. I realized as long as I hold on to the ‘Dragon of Conformism’, I will not be humble, joyful, or courageous because instead of wanting to do what Christ desires for me, I will do what brings me recognition.

But, when that recognition is gone, all that is left is the ‘Dragon of Activism’ again, doing, doing, doing instead of being, being, being in the saving presence of Christ. I do, do, do so I can be recognized, recognized, recognized. I know Edwin, Pastor Ed, and Pastor Hugo will hold me accountable on these fronts.

This is how the Lord Jesus used this book with His Word to counsel me and open me up. I expected to read this to counsel others but praise the Lord that He let me become the counselee as He works in my own life.

There are the other 4 dragons that are well talked about in this book too but it is the two that I mentioned that have affected my life the most.

If I had to rate the Dragons of my life based on the six presented in the book, it would be in this order from greatest danger to danger:
1. ‘Dragon of Activism’
2. ‘Dragon of Conformism’
3. ‘Dragon of Individualism’
4. ‘Dragon of Materialism’
5. ‘Dragon of Relativism’
6. ‘Dragon of Secularism’

What about you?

Where do you think you would fall?

Let the Lord Jesus use this book to help you assess the dragons in your own life for we all have them even in ministry. I have openly shared with you two of my greatest dragons and I ask you to keep me in prayer to overcome these. I know the prayers of His people are powerful.

Just this morning in my Quiet Times before I began to write this review, the Lord Jesus opened His Word to me in
Psalm 30:1 which says, “I will praise you, Lord, for you have saved me from my enemies. You refuse to let them triumph over me.”

Jesus was telling me through this book and Scriptures that I cannot counsel anyone until I allow the Lord Jesus to be my Wonderful Counselor. I praise the Lord that He has not abandoned me and let my enemies triumph over me. He will not abandon you too!

Questions to Ponder:
1. Before even reading the book, what dragon defeats you the most everyday and why?

2. There are many characters mentioned in the book including the author’s own personal experiences. If you had to choose one character you could relate to the most, who would it be and why?

3. How is that there is a correlation between all 6 dragons and why do you think so?

4. What chapter touched you the most and why?

5. What do you learn about Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor as you read this book?


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